Document Type


Publication Date



This is the authors' final version of the article to be published in The Breast Journal.



Nipple sparing mastectomy (NSM) offers patients who are not candidates for breast conserving treatment an aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional mastectomy. Some studies have demonstrated its oncologic safety while others have demonstrated residual occult tumor cells at the nipple areolar complex (NAC). These data prompt further review of oncologic outcomes after NSM.


A single institution retrospective chart review of all NSMs performed by 4 breast surgeons at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital over a span of 2012-2019. In this cohort we review the reconstruction performed, axillary lymph node status, surgical margins, final pathology, loss of the NAC, recurrence rates, and follow-up.


In our cohort we reviewed 170 NSMs performed on 105 patients. All patients were female and the average age was 46.9 years. Prophylactic procedures were performed on 43% of patients with 17.1% of patients being BRCA positive. Of those undergoing NSM for cancer (n=94) the associated pathology was 28.8% DCIS, 32.9% IDC, and 3.5% ILC (This accounts for some patients with multiple diagnoses on final pathology). Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) was performed in 52.9% of cases with 10.6% of cases being positive for axillary disease. Margins were positive in 10.6% (n=10) of cases performed for cancer with 8.5% (n=8) of cases having positive margin at the NAC and the remainder being at the deep margin. Based on margin positivity 2.4% (n=4) of patients underwent redo surgery with 1 patient requiring re-resection at the NAC margin and 3 patients having total NAC resection. Total loss of NAC occurred in 5.9% (n=10) of cases due to positive margins (n=3) and necrosis (n=7). Recurrence occurred in 7.2% (n=7) of cases who underwent NSM for cancer. Locoregional recurrence in breast tissue, skin, or axilla occurred in 4.1% (n=4) of cases with 0 recurrences at the NAC. Distant recurrence occurred in 4.1% (n=4) of cases at both liver and bone. Average time to recurrence was 27.3 months. Of the 170 NSM performed 98% had immediate tissue expander placement with 60% converting to permanent sub-pectoral implant reconstruction, 14% latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction, 0.6% delayed deep inferior epigastric artery perforator free flap reconstruction, and 5.2% undergoing delayed free transversus abdominus muscle flap reconstruction. Of all the cases reviewed there was only 1 death. Our average follow-up was 26.7 months.


We demonstrate similar numbers in our analysis as other studies that have looked at oncologic outcomes after NSM. Although we demonstrate evidence of occult disease at the NAC margin when performing NSM there was no evidence of recurrence at the NAC demonstrating its efficacy and safety. With proper patient selection this procedure can be safely offered as an aesthetically appealing alternative to traditional mastectomy



Available for download on Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Included in

Surgery Commons