Presurgical Ultrasound-Guided Anchor-Wire Marking of Soft Tissue Metastases in Stage III Melanoma Patients


  • C. Voit, MD, T.M. Proebstle, MD, MSc, H. Winter, MD, J. Kimmritz, MD, M. Kron, PhD, W. Sterry, MD and M. Schwürzer, MD have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Thomas Proebstle, MD, MSc, Department of Dermatology, University of Mainz, Langenbeckstr. 1, 55131 Mainz, Germany, or e-mail:


Background. Due to increased sensitivity of diagnostic procedures, soft tissue metastases in melanoma patients are frequently detected very early. However, small sizes, deep location, or position close to vulnerable structures could render subsequent surgery quite difficult.

Objective. To test the feasibility and effectiveness of presurgical ultrasound-guided anchor-wire marking of melanoma metastases.

Methods. We selected melanoma patients with cytologically proven metastases in clinical stage III which were either unfavorably located or which have failed removal by previous surgery. Anchor-wire marking was performed ultrasound guided and free-hand style without the use of local anesthesia.

Results. Twelve procedures in nine patients were well tolerated without any complications. In 11 cases the wire tip proved to be located within the tumor lesion; in one case the wire tip missed the target by less than 5 mm and thus was close enough to support appropriate surgery. Earlier, 3 of the 12 study lesions had undergone unsuccessful surgery. The median diameter of the removed metastases was 18.5 mm (range 7–30 mm).

Conclusion. Ultrasound-guided anchor-wire marking of unfavorably located melanoma metastases is feasible and might facilitate subsequent surgery.