-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Nipple-sparing mastectomy
is safe and effective for certain breast cancer patients and women
who have their breasts removed because they're at high risk for
breast cancer, according to a new study.
For both groups of women, the procedure provides a more natural
looking and normal feeling reconstructed breast compared to other
types of mastectomy, the Georgetown University Medical Center
researchers said in a news release.
In nipple-sparing mastectomy, breast tissue is removed but
surgeons preserve the breast skin and nipple areola complex, which
includes the nipple and darker pigmented circle of skin that
surrounds it. Typically, breast reconstruction is done
There have been concerns that this procedure might leave cancer
cells under the nipple, which could put women at long-term risk.
But this 21-year study of 162 nipple-sparing mastectomies conducted
between 1989 and 2010 found no new cancers or cancer recurrences
among the patients.
The study appears in the November issue of the journal
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
"The nipple-sparing technique is not appropriate for every patient depending upon their anatomy and type of breast pathology. Careful selection of the right patient for [nipple-sparing mastectomy] is an important element of success," Dr. Scott Spear, chairman of the plastic surgery department at Georgetown University Hospital, said in the release.
Another concern about nipple-sparing mastectomy is that the
nipple areola complex (NAC) might not receive enough blood after
the tissue and blood vessels below it are removed, resulting in
tissue death (necrosis).
In this study, three NACs became necrotic and had to be removed.
Four other NACs developed partial necrosis that required surgery,
but the nipple and majority of the areola were preserved in all
"What we've learned from this review is that our established procedures and patient-selection protocol lead to favorable results," Spear said. "As more data become available, I think we'll see nipple-sparing mastectomy play a larger role, particularly in the prevention setting."
The American Society of Clinical Oncology has more about
breast cancer surgery options.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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