The nipple sparing mastectomy is a technique that provides a major psychological benefit for women. The procedure will preserve the area and the breast skin while taking out most of the underlying tissue of the breast. This is all done through a small incision just below the areola.
What is Expected?
A nipple sparing mastectomy that involves breast reconstruction can take anywhere from two to eight hours. The length of time will vary based on the type of breast reconstruction that is going to be performed.
After the procedure, there will small tubes that get sewn into place within the breast to draw away any fluids. The end of the drain is attached to a suction device. The hospital stay can be up to five nights, and as little as one night.
The pain that comes after the nipple sparing mastectomy is typically greater than what is commonly associated with a mastectomy. Patients will be prescribed some pain medication for up to two weeks after the procedure. After this prescription medication is gone, the patient will need to seek over the counter medication. There may be some numbness under the arm. Some of the numbness will go away in a matter of time.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The advantage of maintaining the existing areola is that there won’t be any necessary surgery to need the areola complex. There are also some disadvantages:
– Losing sensation
– If cancer recurs, removal will be necessary
– Possible malpositioning
– No projection
– Partial or complete loss of areola
– Complications of the healing wound
It’s unusual for any surgical complications with Nipple sparing mastectomy to happen. Blood supply is available to get oxygen to the breast skin. Necrosis, known as tissue death, ranges in probability from 2-3% at the low end and 20% for some high-risk patients. There are different factors that need to be taken into account such as the choice of incision, the surgical team, breast tissue removal, and breast size.
There are many surgeons who feel they need to retain the breast tissue behind the areola and the area. Other surgeons feel different about that aspect. Patients that would like to consider undergoing this procedure have to remember that the area of the incisions will have hardly any sensation, if any at all anymore. Sometimes, patients do regain full sensation, but you shouldn’t count on that.
A nipple sparing mastectomy is very common and is commonly performed at many breast centers throughout the country. This procedure should only be done when someone went through a mastectomy to treat or get rid of cancer. You should talk to a doctor about your candidacy for reconstructive surgery.