Mr. R. James Colville Consultant Plastic Surgeon

BSc, MSc, FRCS, FRCS (Plast)

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Telephone: 07772 841078




Melanoma is the rarest but most aggressive type of skin cancer. It can originate from an existing mole. The changes that would alert you are a mole that is growing, has 2 or more colours and is not symmetrical. It may also have a uneven edge, or bleed. It is often associated with excess sun exposure (UV radiation) many years before and it can spread to other parts of the body . 


Surgery -this is the best way to treat these. The specimen is sent for histology (examined under the microscope) to confirm the diagnosis and ensure that it has been completely removed. This takes about 2 weeks. At this appointment the diagnosis will be confirmed the thickness of the melanoma will be known and this will decide if and how much more skin should be removed at a second operation. The size of the resultant defect will also dictate whether a skin graft or other plastic surgery techniques are needed to close the wound. The thickness will also indicate whether it is necessary to examine the lymph nodes near the melanoma to to assess for spread and scans may be required. 

After all of these surgeries, you should not undertake strenous exercise for 1-2 weeks. You will have a wound check at one week, either with the nurses in the hospital or the nurse practitioner at your GP practice. Facial stitches will usually be removed then. I will see you at 2 weeks to discuss the results, review the wound and if surgery was to the the body, i may need to remove stitches then. 

Follow up is usually at 3 monthly intervals for 2 years and 6 monthly after that , but the number of years of follow up is dependent of the thickness of the melanoma . 

After a melanoma diagnosis, you should  protect yourself against the sun using longsleeved shirts, trousers and hats and also suncreams of SPF >30. 

Post operative care

If you are concerned post operatively- please telephone the hospital ward where you had surgery or contact  Jan Richards on 07722841078.

In an emergency please contact your local NHS hospital if you are unable to able contact those above. 


Please contact Jan Richards 07722841078, or use the 'Contact' link above.