The purpose of this study was to characterize the complications associated with surgical treatment of pediatric melanoma.
We retrospectively reviewed all pediatric patients who received surgical treatment for melanoma at our institution between 1992 and 2010. We compared complications between three groups: wide local excision only (WLE), WLE and sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB), and WLE and completion lymph node dissection (CLND).
One hundred twenty-five patients were identified: 37 patients received WLE only, 47 received WLE and SLNB, and 41 patients had WLE and CLND. Complication rates differed between the three groups: 19% in WLE, 11% in WLE + SLNB, and 39% in WLE + CLND (P = .006). The risk of complications was significantly lower among patients having WLE + SLNB versus WLE + CLND (OR 0.19, 95% CI 0.06–0.57, P = .0032). Lymphedema was a common complication with a higher incidence in the CLND group compared to the SLNB group (19.5% vs. 2.1%, P = .01). Complications were more frequent in inguinal compared to axillary dissections (52.0% vs. 17.1%, P = .006).
In the surgical treatment of pediatric melanoma, the addition of a completion lymph node dissection significantly increases complication risk. Thus, it is critical to determine which patients truly benefit from this procedure.
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Accepted: March 8, 2013
Received: February 17, 2013
© 2013 Elsevier Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.