If a surgeon talks about a skin sparing mastectomy, this refers to a technique that preserves as much of the breast skin as possible in order to perform an immediate breast reconstruction. A skin sparing mastectomy can be performed as a \”simple\” (also known as \”total\”) mastectomy or, as a modified radical mastectomy (where the lymph nodes in the armpit are removed too).
What happens in a skin sparing mastectomy?
The breast surgeon removes just the skin of the nipple, areola and the original biopsy scar. Then, through a small opening, the breast tissue is removed. The remaining skin envelope is what provides the optimum shape and form to be able to accommodate an implant or reconstruction with your own tissue (known as autologous tissue)
What’s the advantage of having a skin sparing mastectomy?
This kind of surgery encourages the most realistic type of reconstruction, with the patient retaining their own skin and a near-natural shape.
What are the risks of skin sparing mastectomy?
With a skin sparing mastectomy, the skin envelope becomes very thin. As a result, the blood supply can sometimes be compromised leading to wound breakdown and skin loss.
Is there a higher risk of cancer recurrence in keeping the skin?
No. Studies have shown that a skin sparing mastectomy has an equivalent result compared with a modified radical mastectomy. If there’s any doubt that the cancer may involve the skin (such as with inflammatory breast cancer), then a wider excision of skin may be deemed necessary by your surgeon.