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WLE for melanoma questions

19 Sep 2021 15:38

Good afternoon,

I'm glad to join this forum. I've very recently been diagnosed with 1b melanoma on my fore arm and I'm going on for a wider local excision and sentinel biopsy in 2 weeks. I wondered if anyone could help with a couple of questions I have.

Does anyone know how likely they are to do a skin graft? I'm only asking as my original wound took ages to heal and it still very tight!

How long do people normally take off work? I'm told it will be a general anaesthetic.

Any help would be very appreciated. I'm nervous and worried but trying to stay positive as I know it could have been a lot worse!



WLE for melanoma questions

19 Sep 2021 20:12 in response to KStrip2021


Hi Kstrip,

Welcome to our forum.

I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I have edited my reply to you, as I misread your question. I thought that you were asking about an excisional biopsy and not a WLE. I did manage to go back to work the following day on all three occasions, but I never had to follow these up with a WLE, so cannnot help with healing time there.

I must thank Angie for pointing out my error and, apologise for misleading you. - one of the problems with reading messages so late at night

I hope that all goes well for you. Please keep in touch and let us know. We are always here for you.

Kind regards,



WLE for melanoma questions

20 Sep 2021 09:48 in response to KStrip2021

Hi Katy,

I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis and your planned surgical treatment.

Firstly, being carried out under a general anaesthetic means there is more trauma on the body so it takes a few days to get over that before considering going back to work.

Secondly, you are having two procedures which means double the healing time. If it was just a WLE I would look at how long you were off work after the initial excision and then double (at least ) the time. So if you were off for 3 days, it will at least be a week this time as the procedure is more invasive (deeper as well as bigger) and you will have more stitches. The SLNB can sometimes make the healing process longer, depending on how many nodes they remove, where they remove them from and how large the scar is. So altogether I would at least put a week aside before going back to work, depending on what type of job you have (it's likely the SLNB will be in your armpit if the melanoma was on your arm).

A skin graft is usually done on areas that have very little tissue under the scar (ie. ankle, breast bone etc) or where the skin is tightly stretched (ie. shin, between the shoulder blades). If they have mentioned it may require a skin graft there is still a possibility it won't need one - they will make the decision once they've removed the tissue and see how much skin/tissue they have left to close up. Hopefully it won't need one as that will definitely mean a lot longer off work as the donor site for the skin is sometimes the longest to heal.

I have sent you a friend request so that we can chat by pm if you would like any further information. Good luck and please let us know how you get on,

Angie (Stage 3 melanoma patient since 2009)


WLE for melanoma questions

20 Sep 2021 09:56 in response to AngieT

Thank you very much Angie for your reply and friend request.

Luckily my job is mostly behind a computer but I am required to drive quite a lot so I'll need to think about what's realistic.

My manager is being very good so hotdog it won't be an issue if I need a bit longer. 


WLE for melanoma questions

20 Sep 2021 09:58 in response to KStrip2021

That's good to hear. The driving may be more the issue so if you can work at your desk perhaps try and car share for a while. xx