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06.01.2018 | Case Report | Ausgabe 4/2018

Journal of Robotic Surgery 4/2018

Robotic inguinal lymph node dissection for melanoma: a novel approach to a complicated problem

Journal of Robotic Surgery > Ausgabe 4/2018
G. Alan Hyde, Nathan L. Jung, Alvaro A. Valle, Syamal D. Bhattacharya, Christopher E. Keel



Indications for superficial inguinal lymph node (ILN) dissection in melanoma include fine needle aspiration or clinically positive ILN and sentinel lymph nodes (SLN). Open inguinal lymphadenectomy may be complicated by poor wound healing, deep vein thrombosis, and lymphedema. Technical considerations and case series of a novel surgical approach, robotic inguinal lymphadenectomy, are presented.


This is a case series of four robotic ILN dissections for melanoma at a tertiary care facility. Each patient had previously diagnosed melanoma by lymph node biopsy. Physician and patient jointly decided on robotic procedure after disclosure of this novel approach. Demographic, complication, pathological outcome, estimated blood loss (EBL), operative time, and length of stay (LOS) data were collected.


No cases were aborted due to technical difficulty. The median patient age was 44.5 years (range 22–53 years) and median BMI was 27.5 (range 20.4–40.2). Operative time range was 120–231 min and EBL from 0 to 100 mL. Median nodal count was 5.5 (range 1–14 nodes). Patient LOS ranged from 0 (discharged from post anesthesia care unit) to 96 h. There was one complication of port site cellulitis, one seroma formation, and no instances of lymphedema. To date, there have been no deaths or melanoma recurrences in this population.


Recent data suggest a minimum node count of six to seven for inguinal dissection. Of our four dissections, two were above this threshold and there were minimal postoperative complications. Given our limited sample size, future focus should be on increasing the data on this approach to optimize surgical outcomes and oncologic results.

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