What will the pathology results of the wide excision and sentinel node biopsy tell me and what are the next steps?

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PeterBeitschMD (Physician - Surgery - Surgical Oncology (Verified) ) - 04 / 09 / 2012

The margins of the wide excision are examined to make sure there is no melanoma at the edges. Rarely there is melanoma present along part of the margin (usually non-invasive melanoma in situ) and this will need to re-excised to 'negative' margins. The sentinel lymph node is the critical piece of information since it will determine if all surgical therapy is over (lymph node doesn't have any melanoma cells in it) or that more surgery (completion lymph node dissection) and possibly systemic therapy is needed.
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