The FP explained to the patient that this could be a skin cancer—specifically, a melanoma.
The FP performed a broad shave biopsy, being careful not to cut into the cartilage. (See the Watch & Learn video on “Shave biopsy.”) The FP did his best to include most of the pigmented area involved, but the convex surface made it difficult to biopsy the whole lesion. He was especially careful to include the darker area because it looked most atypical. The diagnosis came back as lentigo maligna.
The patient was referred for Mohs surgery for complete excision and repair. (Mohs surgery is recommended to spare tissue and maximize cure.) After complete excision, the patient learned that the melanoma was not invasive, but in situ. This suggested a very good prognosis.
Photos and text for Photo Rounds Friday courtesy of Richard P. Usatine, MD. This case was adapted from: Mayeaux, EJ, Usatine, R. Lentigo maligna. In: Usatine R, Smith M, Mayeaux EJ, et al. Color Atlas of Family Medicine. 2nd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2013:981-984.
To learn more about the Color Atlas of Family Medicine, see: www.amazon.com/Color-Family-Medicine-Richard-Usatine/dp/0071769641/.
You can now get the second edition of the Color Atlas of Family Medicine as an app by clicking on this link: usatinemedia.com.