A nipple sparing mastectomy is a new approach to the traditional mastectomy that preserves the breast skin envelope and nipple by only removing the internal glandular tissue. Immediately following the mastectomy, breast reconstruction surgery occurs with the use of a temporary spacer (tissue expander), breast implant, or natural tissue (DIEP flap). Nipple sparing mastectomy is an excellent option for certain patients with early-stage disease or those having preventative mastectomies.
Did you know… More women are choosing bilateral mastectomies when they are diagnosed with one-sided breast cancer. The non-cancer side can be nipple-sparing even when the nipple has to be taken on the cancer side.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a candidate for nipple sparing mastectomy?
You may be a candidate for nipple sparing mastectomy if you have a small tumor far away from the nipple, early stage disease, or you are having prophylactic masetctomy. Your tumor must not involve the nipple or underlying areolar tissue, and it should be surrounded by a clear margin of cancer-free tissue. You may also be a candidate if you have the BRCA gene mutation and are seeking preventative treatment.
What can I expect from the nipple sparing mastectomy procedure?
Before surgery, you will arrive at the hospital and be placed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, and incision will be made typically along the lower outer quadrant of your breast fold. This is the ideal incision as it is nearly invisible from the front and avoids scars on the front of your breast. The glandular tissue will then be removed by the breast cancer surgeon. Once the glandular tissue has been removed, you will receive breast reconstruction through either tissue expander, implant, or autologous methods. After surgery, you will wake in the recovery room and be transferred to a hospital room for your overnight stay.
Will I need to follow any special post-op instructions after my nipple sparing breast reconstruction?
Following surgery, you will experience some tiredness and soreness for the first week or two. Because you are recovering, you will want to follow all post-op instructions and take special care to avoid strenuous activities for the first 2-4 weeks after surgery. You may also need to wear a supportive surgical or sports bra to ensure optimal healing.