Newswise — September 29, 2022Nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) – an increasingly popular option for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer – not only achieves good cosmetic outcomes, but also low long-term risk of recurrent breast cancer, reports a study in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Ten years after NSM, the rate of recurrent breast cancer is only 3%, according to the new research, led by ASPS Member Surgeon Mihye Choi, MD, of the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, New York University Langone Health. The researchers write, "Nipple-sparing mastectomy remains a viable option in the appropriately indicated patient with regards to long-term cancer recurrence."

Not just improved cosmetic outcomes – NSM provides good long-term cancer control

In the NSM technique, the surgeon preserves the nipple and surrounding tissues for use in immediate breast reconstruction. Compared to conventional mastectomy, NSM allows for a more natural-looking reconstruction, leading to higher patient satisfaction. However, there is little information about the long-term risk of recurrent breast cancer after NSM.

Dr. Choi and colleagues evaluated breast cancer outcomes in 120 patients undergoing NSM for breast cancer treatment. The analysis included a total of 126 therapeutic NSM procedures. The analysis excluded prophylactic (preventive) NSM procedures to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women at high genetic risk.

At a median follow-up of 10 years after NSM, the analysis showed low recurrent cancer risks: 3.33% per patient and 3.17% per reconstructed breast. Of the four patients with recurrent cancer, two had local recurrences (breast only) and two had cancer spread to other locations (locoregional recurrence).

Recurrence risk was higher for women who had cancer involving the lymph nodes. However, on analysis adjusting for other factors, there were no demographic, surgical, or tumor-related variables that predicted the risk of recurrent breast cancer.

The researchers point out some key limitations of their findings – including selection bias related to the characteristics of patients likely to be considered good candidates for NSM. Most of the patients in the study had early-stage breast cancers: stage 1 in about 45% and stage 0 in 34%.

The finding of good long-term cancer control is especially important in light of the growing use of NSM and immediate reconstruction for women with breast cancer. "Patients with NSMs have had low locoregional recurrence rates in a retrospective review of patients with a median follow-up of 10-years," Dr. Choi and colleagues conclude. They add: "Despite low rates of recurrence, close surveillance remains important to continually assess for long-term safety of NSM."

Click here to read “Long-Term Cancer Recurrence Rates following Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy: A 10-Year Follow-Up Study“

DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000009495


About Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

For over 75 years, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® ( has been the one consistently excellent reference for every specialist who uses plastic surgery techniques or works in conjunction with a plastic surgeon. The official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® brings subscribers up-to-the-minute reports on the latest techniques and follow-up for all areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery, including breast reconstruction, experimental studies, maxillofacial reconstruction, hand and microsurgery, burn repair and cosmetic surgery, as well as news on medico-legal issues.

About ASPS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 7,000 physician members, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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Journal Link: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®