Nipple Sparing Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction
June 11, 2012 - By Dr. Jules Feledy
Following a mastectomy, more women may be able to keep their nipples, due to recent breast cancer reconstructive surgery developments discussed in a press release from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery.
Traditional mastectomies and breast reconstruction often require the removal of the nipple, and areolar tattooing may help achieve a suitable cosmetic result. However, as breast surgery techniques advance, more women may be candidates for surgical procedures that allow for the sparing of the nipple. This would allow women to breast feed normally following surgery.
Breast Reconstruction Spares Nipple for Breastfeeding
Breast reconstruction may involve the use of body tissues or skin in addition to silicone and saline implants for the restoration of breast volume. According to Dr. Thomas Jackson, a pioneer in this area of reconstructive breast surgery, “this approach gives breast cancer survivors a new lease on life and restores much-needed confidence during an incredibly difficult time,” states Dr. Jackson.
“The power it has to transform what has traditionally been a traumatic experience into a positive one is amazing. And to witness this change in my patients post-op is nothing less than inspiring and humbling.”
Due to the high percentages of breast cancer and the increasing survival rates, more and more people now know somebody who is a breast cancer survivor. Some of the relevant statistics include:
- One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer
- There are 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the United States
- 75% of women who have mastectomies choose to have breast reconstruction
Not all patients are candidates for the nipple-sparing technique. During this procedure, the mastectomy is first performed taking great care to preserve the nipple and its attached nerves. The breast skin may be expanded using the tissue expander technique. The breasts are then reconstructed using body tissue or surgical implants.
The new breasts may be the same size as before the surgery, or may be adjusted using breast reduction or breast augmentation techniques. These procedures may occur in one surgery or over multiple surgical sessions.