Currently, no data from randomized controlled clinical trials are available to guide the depth of resection for intermediate-thickness primary cutaneous melanoma. Thus, we hypothesized that substantial variability exists in this aspect of surgical care. We have summarized the literature regarding depth of resection and report the results of our survey of surgeons who treat melanoma. Most of the 320 respondents resected down to, but did not include, the muscular fascia (extremity, 71%; trunk, 66%; and head and neck, 62%). However, significant variation exists. We identified variability in our own practice and have elected to standardize this common aspect of routine surgical care across our institution. In light of the lack of evidence to support resection of the deep muscular fascia, we have elected to preserve the muscular fascia as a matter of routine, except when a deep primary melanoma or thin subcutaneous tissue dictates otherwise.
ASJC Scopus subject areas