A study in Scotland has shown that dermatologists, plastic surgeons and general surgeons all do an equally good job of excising primary malignant melanomas. The surgical background of the person removing the primary tumour had no bearing on the outcome or survival of 4159 patients who had their lesions excised between 1979 and 1998 and were followed up for an average of 10 years. Dermatologists treated the highest proportion of thin melanomas, and general surgeons treated more ulcerated lesions, but this was adjusted for in the analysis. Cosmetic outcome was not considered. The authors thus recommend referring melanoma patients according to shortest surgical waiting time rather than "surgical" specialty.
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