Mayo Clinic Uses New Surgical Technique to Treat Melanoma

Updated: 09/05/2013 6:25 PM By: Cassie Hart

New medical developments happening at Mayo Clinic are providing a new, less risky way of treating malignant melanoma. It's the deadliest form of skin cancer, but if you catch it before it spreads, it can be curable.

A big risk factor that comes with traditional chemotherapy is the effect it can have on the rest of your body.

Now, doctors at Mayo are using a new surgical technique to deliver high doses of chemo only to those areas that need it.

How it works:

For example - if the disease is in your leg, doctors will tourniquet the leg and hook the artery and vein up to a bypass machine, similar to the ones used in open-heart surgery.
Once the machine is moving the blood through the leg, they send high doses of chemo.
Those doses are six to 10 times higher than what would be safe or appropriate to give to the person's entire body.