The final appearance of the reconstructed breast is greatly dependent on the relative amounts of skin and breast tissue excised at the time of the mastectomy and on the exact location of the skin incision. A complete mastectomy may be performed using modified skin incisions to avoid the sacrifice of unnecessary breast skin. The type of skin-sparing incision used varies based on the exact location of the tumor and the size of the breast, but it always includes the nipple-areola complex and the biopsy site.
The presence of local recurrence, distant disease, or death was determined in 50 consecutive patients who had skin-sparing mastectomies and immediate breast reconstruction between 1985 and 1991 to ascertain the safety of the procedure. The period of follow-up ranged from 23 to 121 months, with a mean of 57 months and a median of 51.5 months. There was no local recurrence, active distant disease was present in five patients, two patients died of distant disease, and there were two unrelated deaths. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 104: 77, 1999.)