Women suffering from breast cancer or who are at risk of breast cancer may require a mastectomy to remove their breast or breasts. Traditionally, the nipple of the breast was also removed during this procedure. Dr. Dhivya Srinivasa’s team offers Nipple Sparing Mastectomy (NSM) and reconstruction, a surgical advancement that leaves the nipple fully intact.
When Is Nipple Sparing Mastectomy Performed?
NSM is an effective alternate choice to a lumpectomy and radiation treatment for women who would like to preserve a more natural-looking breast while avoiding the risks that come with radiation. It can also be an option in most patients who need a mastectomy but prefer to preserve the nipple. This can be safely done, without increasing the risk of breast cancer, in a number of patients.
Not all women will be able to avoid radiation treatment with NSM, but the great majority will, as nearly 70% of new breast cancer cases in the U.S. are diagnosed in the early stages of the disease. In many cases, this means they may not require radiation after a complete mastectomy.
Women with BRCA gene mutation who are seeking a risk reduction preventive (“prophylactic“) mastectomy can choose to benefit from NSM. Without an active cancer diagnosis, there is no reason the nipple cannot be preserved in the preventative setting. Many patients are often told they are “not a candidate” for nipple preservation due to the size or shape of their breasts. This is likely untrue as adjunct surgeries can be performed to make nipple preservation feasible and safe.