The surgical management of melanoma has undergone considerable changes over the past several decades, as new strategies and treatments have become available. Surgeons play a pivotal role in all aspects of melanoma care: diagnostic, curative, and palliative. There is a high potential for cure in patients with early-stage melanoma and the selection of an appropriate operation is very important for this reason. Staging the nodal basin has become widespread since the adoption of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) for the management of melanoma. This operation provides the best prognostic information that is currently available for patients with melanoma. The surgeon plays a central role in the palliation of symptoms resulting from nodal disease and metastases, as melanoma has a propensity to spread to almost any site in the body.