High-resolution ultrasound was used to determine if it could predict the presence of metastatic disease in 52 patients with melanoma who had developed newly palpable lymph nodes during clinical follow-up. Ultrasound proved accurate in diagnosing the presence of nodal metastases; it had a sensitivity of 94%, a specificity of 87% and an accuracy of 89%. The ultrasound features which together were diagnostic of the presence of nodal metastases were a node thickness greater than two-thirds of the node length and the presence of low-level echoes in the node. When these two features were both present on ultrasound, node metastases were present in every case. Ultrasound can be used to evaluate newly palpable lymph nodes in patients with melanoma. A normal ultrasound finding does not exclude micrometastases, but a lymph node showing the two key ultrasound features aforementioned is highly likely to contain metastatic disease and should be treated accordingly.