Nipple-Areola Complex Sensation after Nipple-sparing Mastectomy

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Abstract

Background:

Nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) has been proven to be oncologically safe for treating breast cancer. This procedure had been developed to optimize the esthetic outcome and reduce feeling mutilation after mastectomy. Risks of necrotic complications and diminishing nipple-areola complex (NAC) sensation are common complications affecting the patient’s satisfaction after the surgery. The evaluation of NAC sensation should be also investigated.

Methods:

We prospectively analyzed 55 NSMs that were performed on 52 patients for both therapeutic and prophylactic indications in Ramathibodi Hospital from May 2007 to September 2015. Patients’ demographics, operative details, oncologic outcome, and postoperative complications, focusing on NAC sensation and necrotic complications, were analyzed.

Results:

Forty-seven NSMs (87%) were performed for therapeutic indications, and another 7 NSMs (13%) were risk-reducing operations. Of the 43 patients performing NSM for breast cancer treatment, 33 patients (77%) had invasive cancer and 11 patients (23%) had ductal carcinoma in situ. One subareola base tissue was found an occult cancer, and the NAC was then removed. There were 3 locoregional recurrences after a median follow-up time of 24 months (range, 2–104 months). The NAC sensation was evaluated in a total of 35 patients. Twenty-five patients (46%) underwent serial evaluation after 6 months of operation, and 10 patients were evaluated at more than 1 year after operation. In the first 6 months, 11 patients (44%) showed partial sensation recovery, and 3 more patients had partial recovery after 1-year follow-up. Only 1 patient (2%) had complete sensation recovery in all area of the NAC. In late evaluation group, 7 out of 10 patients had partial recovery. Most pain sensation remained in the lower aspect of the areola away from surgical incision.

Conclusions:

NSM is technically feasible in selected patients with low rates of NAC removal. Some patients can preserve the NAC sensation. Long-term outcome should receive follow-up.

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