Nipple Sparing Mastectomy and Traditional Mastectomy: Top 3 Differentiating Factors

Women dealing with breast cancer opt to undergo a mastectomy to remove the cancer, preventing its growth and reducing the risk of cancer spreading to other parts of the body. Modern medicine has given women more options with this cancer treatment, and one of the most beneficial medical breakthroughs for women is a breast cancer treatment called nipple sparing mastectomy. How does this differ from traditional mastectomy?

  1. Procedure – Both procedures remove milk procing tissue. With nipple-sparing mastectomy, the nipple, areola and breast skin are preserved; keeping the outward appearance of the breast as intact as possible. Older mastectomy techniques include the nipple and central skin, large scar and disfiguring appearance.
  2. Aesthetics – As mentioned above, after a nipple-sparing mastectomy, the breast’s general appearance remains intact while in traditional mastectomy, nothing remains of the breast’s original appearance—only a scar that usually runs across the area where the breast used to be. The area operated on becomes flat, giving the patient’s chest area an uneven look and feel if no reconstruction is performed
  3. Patient prognosis – While the mastectomy that spares the nipple, areola, and breast skin is more appealing, not all breast cancer patients are a good candidate for the procedure. Ensuring no cancer is left behind determining whether or not she is ideal for the nipple-sparing breast cancer treatment.

In general, nipple-sparing mastectomy is ideal for women with small, non-aggressive tumors, and in women with smaller breasts. Traditional mastectomy is recommended for those with large, aggressive tumors. The location of the cancer plays a role.

Other factors that may affect the patient’s eligibility for the nipple-sparing procedure include other health conditions such as diabetes if the patient is a smoker, and if the patient has a history of prolonged or delayed healing.

You should discuss the procedure thoroughly with your cancer surgeon to learn more about its pros and cons. You may be an ideal candidate or other forms of treatments may be more beneficial for you. To schedule an appointment with our breast cancer surgeons, please feel free to contact us at (866) 229-8807.