A study presented at this year’s American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting offers evidence that patients with malignant melanoma who undergo inguinal lymph node dissection with spinal anesthesia (a regional anesthetic) have a better prognosis than patients who undergo the same surgery with general anesthesia.
Malignant melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer because of its risk for spreading. Treatment often consists of sentinel or radical lymph node dissection. Such dissection involves surgical stress, anesthetics and opioids, all of which can depress one’s immune system and increase the risk of tumor spread, recurrence and death.
“While cancer patients need an operation to remove or reduce tumor cells, the anesthesia used can cause other complications,” said the study’s lead author, Gerhard Brodner, Professor Dr. Dr., Fachklinik Hornheide, Germany. “It is important to determine whether a specific type of anesthesia can have a better impact on melanoma patients’ survival rate.”