Lymphatic Mapping in the Management of Melanoma in Children

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Lymphatic mapping allows the surgeon to identify and remove the first draining (sentinel) lymph node from a primary melanoma with minimal morbidity. The procedure facilitates accurate staging and identification of patients in need of additional therapy. We used lymphatic mapping and sentinel lymph node biopsy in two children with melanoma. Both patients had evidence of metastatic melanoma in their sentinel lymph nodes and underwent regional lymphadenectomy. Malignant melanoma and atypical pigmented lesions in children remain diagnostically challenging for the pathologist and clinician. Misdiagnoses occur, and the correct interpretation of a melanocytic tumor is too often made only after recurrence or metastasis has occurred. The use of lymphatic mapping facilitates accurate staging and identifies children in whom additional therapy may be indicated. In addition, it can assist in the assessment of the biologic potential of a difficult lesion.

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