Journal of the American Dental Association
Original Item ID
Background and Overview
Oral melanomas vary in color and morphology and resemble myriad other reactive, benign, or malignant conditions. The authors describe a case report of a patient with a primary oral melanoma that presented as a nonspecific ulcer, which showed nodal metastasis during resection.
A 64-year-old man who was examined by his periodontist to assess implant healing had a reddish-purple ulcer of the maxillary mucosa of 3 to 4 weeks duration. The implant was placed 19 weeks earlier in the mandible. The provisional diagnosis was that this ulcer was a traumatic or inflammatory lesion. The clinician biopsied the tissue at the 1-week follow-up appointment, which was identified as melanoma. The patient had a partial maxillectomy and ipsilateral neck dissection. Tissue examination showed nodal metastasis. Two months later, contralateral neck node metastasis was diagnosed and treated.
Conclusions and Practical Implications
In contrast to cutaneous melanoma, oral melanoma has a poor prognosis because of delayed diagnosis. Thorough oral examination at each dental visit may improve the outcome of this fatal condition.
Rawal, Yeshwant B.; Dodson, Thomas B.; and Bal, Harbinder S., "Oral Melanoma: Relevance to the Dental Team Members" (2017). School of Dentistry Faculty Research and Publications. 519.
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