Periorbital melanocytic lesions: excision and reconstruction in 40 patients

P M Glat, M T Longaker, E B Jelks, J A Spector, D F Roses, R A Shapiro, B M Zide, G W Jelks
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 1998, 102 (1): 19-27
The treatment of melanoma arising in the periorbital region is a difficult reconstructive problem. The abundance of vital structures in close proximity to one another makes the resection and subsequent reconstructive procedures extremely challenging. Reported here is experience with periorbital melanocytic lesions in 40 patients with the emphasis on the types of reconstruction performed. Forty patients with periorbital melanocytic lesions were treated between 1984 and 1995. The periorbital region was subdivided into five zones. These zones are the following: zone I, upper eyelid; zone II, lower eyelid; zone III, medial canthus; zone IV, lateral canthus; and zone V, contiguous structures. Ocular melanomas were not included in this study. The distribution of the lesions in our 40 patients was zone I (n = 1), zone II (n = 14), zone III (n = 1), zone IV (n = 9), and zone V (n = 31). The ages of the patients ranged from 3 to 84 years at the time of reconstruction, with an average age of 57 years. Resection and reconstruction were performed simultaneously in all patients. Thirty-six of the patients were reconstructed with one procedure, three patients required two procedures, and one patient required five procedures. The tumor type was superficial spreading melanoma in 15 patients, melanoma in situ in 17 patients, malignant spindle cell neoplasm in 2 patients, desmoplastic melanoma in 2 patients, amelanocytic melanoma in 1 patient, epithelioid melanoma in 1 patient, and atypical melanocytic nevus in 2 patients in which an early, evolving melanoma could not be excluded. Elective lymph node dissection was performed in four patients for intermediate thickness lesions (1.5 to 4.0 mm). The types of reconstructions performed included full-thickness skin grafts, upper lid myocutaneous flaps, cheek advancement flaps, cervicofacial flaps, inferiorly based nasolabial flaps, tarsoconjunctival flaps, frontalis muscle flaps, medial transposition Z-plasty, and primary closure. The resection of periorbital melanomas can be difficult because of the number of important anatomic structures in the region. The challenge to the surgeon in handling head and neck melanomas in general lies in the need to provide the best functional and aesthetic result while still resecting the primary lesion with the intent of effecting a cure. We present our series to demonstrate that the adequacy of margins of resection need not be compromised to facilitate reconstruction and that excellent results are obtainable with reconstructive procedures performed after adequate resections. Several different types of flaps and grafts can be used, with the indications varying depending on the location of the lesion and the extent of resection. The major reconstructive options will be reviewed in detail.

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