Nipple-sparing mastectomy: considerations and techniques

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Abstract

Nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) is the next step in the natural progression of tissue preservation breast cancer surgery. NSM selection criteria are a balance between oncologic and cosmetic considerations; accurate ascertainment of nipple involvement is critical. Further selection should be based on patients with the greatest likelihood of viable flaps and the ability to maintain symmetrical breasts. Surgical technique focuses on incision selection and creating thin flaps with removal of the majority of breast tissue. Risk assessment for long-term recurrence is necessary with proponents for pre-, intra- and post-operative assessment. Prospective studies show low rates of local recurrence of the nipple–areolar complex and are comparable to skin-sparing mastectomy with short-term follow-up in highly select groups of patients. Extended follow-up will be helpful in determining long-term outcomes. Nipple necrosis is an outcome that should be considered. Studies may support improved quality of life and patient satisfaction with NSM, and it is likely to be a safe and feasible procedure that may benefit carefully selected patients.

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