Amputation for the Treatment of Melanoma

Amputation (the surgical removal of an entire body part, such as a finger or ear) is rarely required for patients who are diagnosed with melanoma, although there are some instances in which this complex surgery is necessary. Typically, when treating a patient for skin cancer, a surgeon will try to remove the smallest amount of skin possible However, in situations where the cancer has spread far beyond its original site, amputation may be the best option for removing all of the cancer from the body.

For instance, amputation may be an option if:

  • The patient has significant pain that cannot be controlled with medication
  • The original tumor has spread extensively throughout the nearby tissues
  • The patient has lost function of a body part (such as an ankle) due to local tumor growth
  • The cancer has come back after one or more previous surgeries

Although amputation may be considered in such situations, there are also several limb-saving procedures that may be offered in an attempt to avoid a more extensive operation. At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer a number of different melanoma surgeries, allowing our patients to access the treatments that are right for their unique needs. Our surgeons have extensive experience performing minor melanoma operations as well as complex limb amputations, and everything in between.

When recommending amputation or any other type of skin cancer surgery, our oncologists consider a number of factors, including the extent of a tumor’s growth and the potential risks and benefits associated with each procedure. Working together with our patients to create individualized treatment plans, we are able to help them achieve the best possible outcomes and quality of life.

To learn more about melanoma amputation and other surgical treatments for skin cancer, call 1-888-MOFFITT or submit a new patient registration form online. You do not need a physician’s referral to make an appointment.