Sonography for Locoregional Staging and Follow-up of Cutaneous Melanoma How We Do It

First Department of Radiology,National Cancer Institute Fondazione G. Pascale, Naples, Italy.
Journal of ultrasound in medicine: official journal of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.54). 05/2010; 29(5):791-802.
Source: PubMed


Sonography is being used with increasing frequency in the assessment of locoregional tumor spread in patients with melanoma. Nevertheless, to maximize its practical impact, sonography should be performed with state-of-the-art equipment, by specifically trained operators, and using a careful exploration technique and well-defined diagnostic criteria. In this "how I do it"-type article, we illustrate our practical approach to sonography of cutaneous melanoma.
We first illustrate the basic and advanced technical requirements; then we describe our exploration methods and our image interpretation approach; and finally, we report on our use of sonography as a guidance tool for interventional procedures. Special emphasis is given to methodological and interpretative clues, tricks, and pitfalls.
Sonography can be used in the initial staging of patients with melanoma, particularly in the screening of patients scheduled for a sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure. Additionally, sonography can be used during patient follow-up to detect locoregional recurrence earlier than palpation.
Sonography plays a growing role in the assessment of the superficial spread of melanoma. Nevertheless, state-of-the-art equipment and careful exploration by trained operators are necessary.

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