Patient risk factors and surgical morbidity after regional lymphadenectomy in 204 melanoma patients

Marshall M. Urist, William A. Maddox, Janet E. Kennedyy, Charles M. Balch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


A series of 204 melanoma patients were studied six months or longer after regional lymph node dissection of the neck (N = 48), axilla (N = 98) and groin (N = 58) in order to determine the degree of morbidity and analyze for risk factors associated with these procedures. Only one‐quarter of the patients experienced wound‐related, short‐term complications that were common at all sites; however, these rarely resulted in long‐term functional deficits. Seromas (22%), temporary nerve dysfunction or pain (14%), and wound infections (6%) were the most frequent short‐term complications. Wound complications extended the mean hospital stay by 0.6 to 4.8 days. Residual lymphedema of the leg was measurable in 26% of groin dissection patients after six months or longer; most of the edema was confined to the thigh. Only 8% of patients had significant functional deficit from lymphedema. The risk of developing at least one complication for all patients was increased for obese patients (P = 0.05) and increasing age (P =.01). These risk factors should be considered when evaluating melanoma patients for regional lymph node dissection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2152-2156
Number of pages5
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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