How long does a wide local excision surgery and sentinel lymph node biopsy typically take?

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PeterBeitschMD (Physician - Surgery - Surgical Oncology (Verified) ) - 08 / 29 / 2012

Most patients with melanoma will undergo a wide excision of their primary melanoma and a sentinel lymph node biopsy (the 1-3 lymph nodes that drain the patch of skin where the melanoma was). The operative time varies by 1) how big the wide excision needs to be (typically 1cm in radial diameter excision per millimeter in thickness of the melanoma up to 3cm) 2) method of reconstruction (filling the defect) with advancement or rotation flaps or skin grafts and 3) how many lymph node basins (draining areas - axillary, groin, neck) and how many lymph nodes need to be removed. All that said, my surgeries usually take 30 min to 1 hour for most patients.
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