• To evaluate the role of staging workup in primary and recurrent malignant melanoma, we reviewed the results in 115 patients with primary melanoma and in 28 patients with recurrent disease who underwent evaluation with chest roentgenograms, radionuclide bone and liver scans, and either a radionuclide brain scan or computed tomography of the brain. Upper gastrointestinal tract series with small-bowel follow-through were obtained in 42 patients. Metastatic disease was documented in nine of 143 chest roentgenograms, seven of 137 liver-spleen scans, three of 141 bone scans, two of 85 brain scans, two of 43 brain computed tomographic scans, and two of 42 upper gastrointestinal tract series. All documented metastasis was in stage II and recurrent melanoma. Postoperatively determined serum lactate dehydrogenase levels showed greater than 300 U/L in all patients with documented metastasis except in two with bone and one with brain metastases. We conclude that, in view of low yield, there is no role for routine metastatic workup to detect silent metastasis in malignant melanoma. Elevated postoperative serum lactate dehydrogenase levels indicate need for metastatic workup.
(Arch Surg 1989;124:847-849)