Treatment of Head and Neck Melanoma In Situ With Staged Contoured Marginal Excisions

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Staged marginal evaluation of melanoma in situ (MIS) is performed to avoid reconstruction on positive margins. Contoured marginal excision (CME) is an excision of a 2-mm wide strip of normal-appearing skin taken approximately 5 mm from the visible tumor periphery. If positive, a new CME is excised; the tumor is resected once negative margins are confirmed. The purpose of this study is to report our experience using this technique for the treatment of head/neck MIS. Clinicopathological data were abstracted for all patients who underwent staged CME followed by central tumor resection for head/neck MIS; patients with invasive melanoma were excluded. Statistical analyses included χ2 test and t test. Overall, 127 patients with MIS were identified. Fifty-six percent were men; the average age was 68 years. The median number of CME procedures per patient was 1 (range, 1–4). Twenty-three percent of patients required more than 1 CME procedure to achieve negative margins. Local recurrence occurred in 3 of 127 patients after a median follow-up of 5 months. Patients requiring multiple CME procedures were more likely to experience local recurrence (P < 0.001). In conclusion, this technique is an effective method to avoid reconstruction on positive MIS margins with high local disease control rates.

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