Minimally invasive technique for melanoma cuts recovery time in half

September 27, 2013

A new, minimally invasive technique to remove lymph nodes is being used by only a few surgeons in the country.

 

A new, minimally invasive technique to remove lymph nodes is being used by only a few surgeons in the country.

The laparoscopic procedure reduces the chance of infection and cuts the recovery time in half, according to a Northwestern Memorial Hospital news release.

“Only a handful of surgeons in the country are doing this and it makes a world of difference to the patient,” Karl Bilimoria, M.D., a surgical oncologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and an assistant professor of surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, says in the release. “Instead of a 12-inch scar, this laparoscopic procedure has only three very small incisions that total less than 1 inch. Because these incisions are so small, the chance of infection is far less.”

Dr. Bilimoria performed the surgery on 24-year-old patient Krista Easom, who was diagnosed with malignant melanoma that had spread to her lymph nodes. Instead of a five-day hospital stay after a lymphadenectomy, she was able to go home the day after the surgery, thanks to the new technique, according to the release.

“Surgery is the only way to make sure we get all of the cancer,” Northwestern Memorial Hospital surgical oncologist Jeffrey Wayne, M.D., says in the release. “We want Krista to move on with her life. The minimally-invasive procedure was by far, the quickest and safest way for her to do that.”