Explore This Treatment

About the Program

The Melanoma & Skin Cancer Surgery Program in the Division of Gastrointestinal & Oncologic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital offers expert melanoma and skin cancer surgery within a multidisciplinary team consisting of medical and radiation oncologists, dermatologists and dermapathologists. Our specialists provide surgical services for patients in the Mass General Cancer Center and the Mass General Melanoma Center and Pigmented Lesion Center (PLC).

Mass General’s melanoma and skin cancer surgical oncologists have undergone specialty training in oncology and offer a high degree of specialization and expertise. Cancer surgery is generally considered complex surgery, and published data have demonstrated that hospitals and surgeons with the highest volume experience with specific operations have the lowest complication and death rates. Recognizing the relationship between frequency of performing an operation and the quality of outcomes, each surgeon in the Division of Gastrointestinal & Oncological Surgery focuses his or her clinical practice on the management of one or two diseases. Our surgeons are highly specialized, highly experienced and nationally recognized experts.

Working within a multidisciplinary team, melanoma and skin cancer surgeons perform a range of surgeries and procedures, including:

  • Advanced plastic surgical reconstructions
  • Hypothermic isolated limb perfusion with melphalan for in-transit metastases, a procedure in which surgeons isolate blood flow from an affected limb and then treat the limb with high-dose chemotherapy
  • Liver resections for selected patients with ocular melanoma liver metastases
  • Lymphatic mapping and sentinel node biopsy, which can determine if cancer has spread
  • Lymph node dissections
  • Surgery for primary melanomas

Additionally, genetic counseling is offered through the Mass General Center for Cancer Risk Assessment to assess hereditary risk in young patients and patients with strong family histories of melanoma.

Multidisciplinary Care

Patients with melanomas, as well as other stages of skin cancer, are evaluated in the Center for Melanoma's multidisciplinary sessions. During your first visit, you will meet with a number of specialists in addition to your surgeon, who will review your medical history and diagnosis. This multidisciplinary team is on the leading edge in melanoma detection, prevention and treatment and offers participation in many clinical trials.

Very rarely is a procedure performed at an initial consultation. We ask that you bring any imaging and pathology reports, along with a list of medications, vitamins and herbal supplements that you take, including their dosages.

Treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits, will be discussed in detail. Our aim during the consultation is to give you the information you need to make decisions about your care.

In this videoGenevieve Boland, MD, PhD, head of melanoma and sarcoma surgery, and surgical director of the Mass General Cancer Center Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies, shares how targeted treatments, immunotherapies and multidisciplinary collaboration have impacted melanoma care.

What to Expect

Surgery for melanomas and skin cancer is usually done through our outpatient clinic. Recovery time post-surgery varies depending on the extent and location of the procedure, but in many cases, it involves a couple of weeks of careful activity.

Your surgeon will schedule a follow-up visit two weeks after your surgery to assess your progress and discuss next steps in your treatment plan.

The Mass General Difference

Mass General and the Mass General Cancer Center are consistently ranked among the best hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Our ranking is based on our quality of care, patient safety and reputation in more than a dozen specialties. Our commitment to excellence means that we work to ensure that you receive the best care at all points during your visit.

As an academic center, Mass General and the Mass General Cancer Center invest in research to understand diseases and develop new approaches in treatment. Our doctors are leaders within their respective fields and collaborate with colleagues in various departments across the hospital. As a patient, you benefit from shared expertise, leading research, and our commitment to quality and excellence.

Research and Clinical Trials

Surgeons within our division conduct critical research on melanoma and skin cancer. In addition, the Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies at the Mass General Cancer Center researches innovative ways to deliver personalized targeted therapies to patients. You may be qualified to participate in one of our research studies or clinical trials. Your care team can help determine whether research opportunities are available to you.

Learn more about research at the Cancer Center

Patient Resources

Below are additional resources about the Melanoma & Skin Cancer Surgery Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about oncologic surgery

Center for Melanoma

Center for Melanoma

The internationally renowned Center for Melanoma offers novel therapies

Pigmented Lesion Center (PLC)

Pigmented Lesion Center (PLC)

About the Melanoma Center and Pigmented Lesion Center (PLC)

Cancer Genetics

Cancer Genetics

The Center for Cancer Risk Assessment provides genetic counseling and testing services

Henri and Belinda Termeer Center

Henri and Belinda Termeer Center

The Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies offers new hope to patients