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Nipple sparing mastectomy

The March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, reports of safe and effective “nipple-sparing” techniques for a mastectomy with immediate breast reconstruction. Nipple sparing procedures have become increasingly popular for women that are undergoing a mastectomy. This technique allows the surgeon to preserve the nipple and surrounding tissue. In patients getting breast cancer treatment, the nipple sparing procedure can only be done if the nipple and surrounding tissue have not been affected by cancer.

A total of 500 nipple sparing mastectomies were performed on 285 women. The average age of women was 46 years old. Fifty-four percent of women underwent “risk-reducing” mastectomy. This procedure is done on women with a high genetic risk of getting breast cancer.

Breast reconstruction with implants was done at the same time as the mastectomy in 60 percent of the patients. A two-stage reconstruction was performed on the remaining women. It was necessary for these women to get tissue-expansion. This allows an increase in the amount of skin that will be later used for implant-based reconstruction.

The complication rate stood at about 12 percent in women. Necrosis (death of tissue) of part of the nipple was the most common complication. This would make reconstruction of the breast extremely difficult.

Four percent of women developed cancer in the nipple area. The natural nipple was retained in 90 percent of women, even including these four percent.

Researchers found several factors that could increase the chance of complications. Women who smoked were three times more likely to have complications with the procedure. Risks also increased significantly for women that had undergone radiation therapy as part of their cancer treatment.

If the incision was placed around the nipple, complications were more likely to develop. If the incision was placed under the breast fold, complications decreased dramatically.

The nipple-sparing mastectomy is gradually gaining traction as the preferred method of surgery for women with breast cancer. The new procedure allows for preservation of the patient’s tissue. This gives a more effective control of breast cancer risk.

Because this is a fairly new procedure, the risk of complications is lower for use of current techniques as opposed to the nipple-sparing mastectomy. At Massachusetts General Hospital, surgeons work hard to effectively control the risk of breast cancer. They also try to maximize reconstruction outcomes in breast cancer patients.

Dr. Colwell stated, “We are performing an increasing number of nipple-sparing mastectomy procedures as more breast oncology surgeons become comfortable with the procedure and with expansion of our indications for nipple-sparing surgery. Patient have been increasingly preferring the inframammary incision method. Researchers also indicated that a single stage reconstruction is now being performed in nearly two-thirds of women undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Dr. Franks at the office of WDF Cosmetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery has a lot of experience in breast augmentations. Whether you have gotten a mastectomy or simply want a change in your appearance, a breast augmentation may be the right choice for you. For more information about Des Moines breast augmentation, contact 515.421.4299.

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