Dr. Harness shares if a woman can retain her nipple if she has a mastectomy.
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There is a real growing interest in saving both the areola and the nipple at the time of mastectomy, and there’s a growing body of surgical literature about the safety of this procedure. Now this is going from the extreme of removing everything, now to trying to save the skin envelope around the breast, the areola and the nipple. Doing that presumes reconstruction. Now there’s no point in saving all of that if we’re not going to reconstruct. The most typical reconstruction right now is initially with a tissue expander and then followed either by a permanent implant or perhaps rotating tissue from the abdomen or from the back in to fill in that space. This is a real interest of mine right now. Women need to look good and have good cancer care at the same time. They need to feel good about themselves and their clothes, and so the whole area of interest in oncoplastic reconstruction, not only in partial mastectomy, how do we reshape the breast, but nipple- and areolar- and skin-sparing mastectomy is part of that whole emphasis that a good breast surgeon should have. In my view, a good breast surgeon should be passionate about how his patient looks post-operatively, and how is she going to look in her clothes, how is she going to do in a bra. And, and women need to be asking the question, in my view, “Am I a candidate for nipple- and areolar-sparing mastectomy, if I am choosing mastectomy?” That’s particularly true if they are going to have a prophylactic mastectomy for the other side. And there’s more women choosing that particular option right now.

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