Nipple-Sparing Total Mastectomy of Large Breasts: The Role of Tissue Expansion

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Nipple-sparing total mastectomy remains an alternative for management of patients with high risk breast disease or patients with various types of symptomatic breast problems. In a patient with large breasts, however, achieving good cosmesis while still performing a thorough mastectomy remains a challenge. This report includes 10 patients who underwent unilateral nipple-sparing total mastectomy and 10 patients who underwent bilateral nipplesparing total mastectomy. Tissue expansion was used as the reconstructive technique in this consecutive series done from 1985 through 1988. All expanders were placed in the submuscular position, and hyperbaric oxygen was used when intraoperative fluorescein administration identified marginally perfused areas. The average volume of breast tissue removed was 800 gm. The average permanent implant size was 767 cc. Complications included partial skin or nipple loss, infection, and problems related to the implants themselves. The complication rate, however, was not excessive, and results have been good as measured by cosmetic results, capsule grade, and lack of development of cancer in operated breasts. This reconstructive technique is recommended as an alternative in those patients undergoing nipple-sparing total mastectomy. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 101: 1494, 1998.)

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