Our center has always placed a great emphasis on performing whatever surgical procedure is needed to give patients the best chance for survival. At the same time, we understand that the invasiveness of surgery should be minimized to reduce complications and provide better quality of life.
In our practice, this has led to the incorporation of minimally-invasive techniques to accomplish the same goals of older, more invasive procedures. Two examples of this minimally-invasive philosophy are the sentinel lymph node biopsy and videoscopic inguinal lymph node dissection.
The sentinel node technique was pioneered by our group and has enabled 80 to 90 percent of melanoma patients to avoid lymph node dissections. The videoscopic dissection technique has been developed to help some of the patients who still require complete dissections.
If lymph nodes in the groin or inguinal region have melanoma metastases, one standard treatment is surgery to remove all of the lymph nodes from that region. Because of the anatomy of that area of the body, the operation using the traditional “open” approach using a large skin incision is subject to a relatively high risk for wound complications. The minimally-invasive alternative uses smaller incisions (¼ to ½ inch) and special instruments and video cameras to perform the operation.