Nipple-sparing mastectomy is a surgical advancement to breast cancer surgery. It is a risk-reducing surgery that removes breast glandular tissue found beneath the nipple and overlying skin and leaves the nipple and full breast skin envelope intact.
In a nipple-sparing mastectomy, your scar will be hidden beneath the breast or in another location, so the breast’s natural feel and appearance is preserved. This surgical procedure aims to provide you with the best possible cosmetic outcome with minimal complications.
Those eligible for nipple-sparing mastectomy include;
- Women whose tumors are not large and do not involve the tissue under the areola or the nipple
- Women who’ve not been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer involving the skin or inflammatory breast cancer
- Women with tumors that are surrounded by healthy tissue
- Women who are BRCA mutation carriers getting a prophylactic mastectomy
- Women with both small and large breast size with breast ptosis (drooping)
Nipple-sparing mastectomy is a safe way to help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women who carry the BRCA mutation.
Although nipple-sparing mastectomy reduces breast cancer recurrence rates, it’s not for everyone. If you’re planning for immediate reconstructive surgery, this procedure may have better benefits. But if you have inflammatory breast cancer, dense breasts, or certain medical comorbidities, this procedure is not for you.
Nipple-sparing mastectomy can be an alternative to lumpectomy/radiation for breast cancer patients who want to avoid the adverse side effects and risks of radiation treatment. With nipple-sparing mastectomy, they can reduce the risk of Lymphedema when combined with a natural tissue reconstruction procedure.
A nipple-sparing mastectomy is a safe procedure that produces superior clinical and cosmetic outcomes for the long term. The reconstructive and muscle preserving techniques used reduces the time of hospitalization and recovery in patients.
As a patient, you should discuss your options with your medical team to determine what’s best for your unique condition.