Prospective trials have not compared local recurrence rates for different excision techniques for cutaneous melanomas on the head and neck.
To determine local recurrence rates of cutaneous head and neck melanoma after wide local excision (WLE), Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS), or staged excision.
A systematic review of PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science identified all English case series, cohort studies and randomized controlled trials that reported local recurrence rates after surgery of cutaneous head and neck melanoma. A meta-analysis utilizing a random effects model calculated weighted local recurrence rates and confidence intervals (CI) for each surgical technique and for subgroups of MMS and staged excision.
Among one-hundred manuscripts with 13,998 head and neck cutaneous melanomas, 51.0% (7138) of melanomas were treated by WLE; 34.5% (4,826) by MMS; and 14.5% (2,034) by staged excision. Local recurrence rates were lowest for MMS (0.61%; 95%CI, 0.1%-1.4%); followed by staged excision (1.8%; 95%CI, 0.1%-2.9%) and WLE (7.8%; 95%CI, 6.4%-9.3%).
Definitions of local recurrence varied. Surgical techniques included varying proportions of invasive melanomas. Studies had heterogeneity.
Systematic review and meta-analysis show lower local recurrence rates for cutaneous head and neck melanoma after treatment with MMS or staged excision compared to WLE.