Resection in the popliteal fossa for metastatic melanoma

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Background: Traditionally metastatic melanoma of the distal leg and the foot metastasize to the lymph nodes of the groin. Sometimes the first site of nodal disease can be the popliteal fossa. This is an infrequent event, with rare reports in literature and when it occurs, radical popliteal node dissection must be performed. Case presentation: We report a case of a 36-year old man presented with diagnosis of 2 mm thick, Clark's level II-III, non ulcerated melanoma of the left heel, which developed during the course of the disease popliteal node metastases, after a superficial and deep groin dissection for inguinal node involvement. Five months after popliteal lymph node dissection he developed systemic disease, therefore he received nine cycles of dacarbazine plus fotemustine. To date (56 months after prior surgery and 11 months after chemotherapy) he is alive with no evidence of disease. Conclusion: In case of groin metastases from melanoma of distal lower extremities, clinical and ultrasound examination of ipsilateral popliteal fossa is essential. When metastatic disease is found, radical popliteal dissection is the standard of care. Therefore knowledge of anatomy and surgical technique about popliteal lymphadenectomy are required to make preservation of structures that if injured, can produce a permanent, considerable disability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalWorld Journal of Surgical Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Surgery


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