Although it’s not yet become well-known, a nipple-sparing mastectomy is possible for many women who must undergo breast cancer surgery or any kind of breast reconstruction. Research has shown that some women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are opting for a mastectomy may have a viable option in the nipple-sparing procedure. This fairly new procedure has made significant differences in the overall self-esteem and post-surgery body image for many women who have opted to go this route.
In traditional mastectomies, a significant amount of skin tissue is removed, along with the nipple and whole areola. Then tissue is taken from the abdominal area to reconstruct the breast. This may be the best option for large tumors, and these decisions should be made in conjunction with a doctor.
Nipple-sparing mastectomy surgery involves removing the breast tissue through a small cut, then closely examining any remaining tissue for additional evidence of cancer. The surgeon will then immediately reconstruct the tissue back to the skin of the breast. Women who have small tumors, and those who chose total mastectomy to lower their risk of developing future tumors may be good candidates for the procedure.
When a doctor uses what’s known as a lateral or infra-mammary incision, the event of necrosis of the nipple is diminished and even helps improve the overall outcome and reconstructive procedure, medically and cosmetically. Surgery that spares the skin surrounding the removed breast can be a better and safer option than others to replace the look and feel of the original nipple, such as having a false nipple attached or even having a nipple tattooed on.
Nipple-sparing mastectomies provide top-notch cosmetic results without compromising cancer treatment. It can also improve the return of sensation in some patients. Nipple-sparing mastectomies are widely regarded as safe, and have an overall low risk of any or severe complications immediately or later on down the road. In psychological tests and studies where women had their feelings compared to having their nipple intact and having their nipple removed, women seemed to be psychologically happier with preserving the nipple, as they felt more like themselves. Even though not every woman is eligible for nipple-sparing mastectomy, it’s worth it to discuss this option with your doctor.
At Brooks Plastic Surgery, we are well-versed in nipple-sparing mastectomies. We have performed many successful nipple-sparing mastectomies. For more information and a consultation, contact us today.