What is the role of surgery in the treatment of Kaposi sarcoma (KS)?

Updated: Apr 11, 2019
  • Author: Jessica Katz, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: Edwin Choy, MD, PhD  more...
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Surgical excision

Surgical excision may be of benefit for patients with small superficial lesions. The major problem is local recurrence. The presence of clear surgical margins does not mean that Kaposi sarcoma has been permanently controlled at a given anatomical site. Local recurrence is very common. Yet over the course of many years, multiple small excisions may be a reasonable approach to achieve good control of disease. 

Surgery may also be indicated for patients with a visceral crisis such as obstruction or bleeding or for very deep, localized, painful lesions. The risk of transmission of HIV to the operating room team limits its use in AIDS-associated Kaposi sarcoma.

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