A series of 204 melanoma patients were studied six months or longer after regional lymph node dissection of the neck (N = 48), axilla (N = 98) and groin (N = 58) in order to determine the degree of morbidity and analyze for risk factors associated with these procedures. Only one-quarter of the patients experienced wound-related, short-term complications that were common at all sites; however, these rarely resulted in long-term functional deficits. Seromas (22%), temporary nerve dysfunction or pain (14%), and wound infections (6%) were the most frequent short-term complications. Wound complications extended the mean hospital stay by 0.6 to 4.8 days. Residual lymphedema of the leg was measurable in 26% of groin dissection patients after six months or longer; most of the edema was confined to the thigh. Only 8% of patients had significant functional deficit from lymphedema. The risk of developing at least one complication for all patients was increased for obese patients (P = 0.05) and increasing age (P = .01). These risk factors should be considered when evaluating melanoma patients for regional lymph node dissection.