NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Melanoma

38 NCCN Guidelines for Patients ® : Melanoma, 2018 4  Overview of melanoma treatments Surgery Wide excision: Side effects of this surgery include pain, swelling, and scarring. Pain and swelling are usually temporary and should only last for a few weeks after surgery. Scars can be a lasting result of surgery. Sentinel lymph node biopsy: Possible side effects may include numbness, pain, bruising, and lymph fluid buildup near the biopsy site, which is called a seroma. Serious side effects such as lymphedema are rare. Lymph node dissection: Common side effects of this surgery include pain, numbness, limited arm or leg movement, and lymphedema—swelling due to buildup of lymph fluid in a limb. Normally, lymph flows in one direction toward the heart. Lymph node surgery can disrupt the normal flow of lymph and cause it to build up in the limb (arm or leg). The buildup of lymph causes the arm or leg to swell. This is called lymphedema and it is the most serious side effect of lymph node surgery. Lymphedema may be temporary or permanent. There is no way to know who will develop it or when it will develop. It can happen just after surgery (most common) or months to years later. “ My dermatologist recommended immediate excision until we got clear margins. - Suzanne, current age 53 first diagnosed at age 49