In the previous years, Houston breast cancer patients who were facing a mastectomy had very little options. They would need to have their entire breast removed, and it would be replaced either with their body’s own natural tissue, called a flap breast reconstruction, or a breast implant, called implant-based breast reconstruction.
Thankfully, today Houston breast cancer patients have more choices available to them. A new breast reconstruction procedure called a nipple sparing breast reconstruction can be performed by a certain, specially trained Houston plastic surgeon, like Dr. Fusi and Dr. Craig , who can preserve both a woman’s nipple and her breast skin.
How is a Nipple Sparing Breast Reconstruction Surgery Performed?
It’s likely that you’ve already educated yourself on how a typical mastectomy is performed. A Houston nipple sparing breast reconstruction surgery is performed differently than the standard mastectomy reconstruction. With a nipple sparing breast reconstruction, an incision is made around the areola or underneath the breast in the fold. From that incision, her mastectomy surgeon removes all of the Houston woman’s underlying breast tissue.
After the natural breast tissue is removed, our doctors get to work. Using either the Houston woman’s own breast tissue or an implant, they skillfully reconstruct the woman’s breast. The result is a reconstructed breast with minimal scarring, and your own nipple and areola.
Benefits of a Nipple Sparing Breast Reconstruction.
A nipple sparing breast reconstruction provides Houston women with several benefits, including:
- Enabling mastectomy surgeons to completely remove the natural breast tissue as with a typical mastectomy, thus providing for a safe procedure for breast cancer removal;
- Saving the woman’s natural breast skin, which acts as an envelope or pocket for the breast reconstruction;
- Keeping the woman’s nipple and areola intact allowing for the most natural result;
- Reducing breast reconstruction scarring, allowing Houston nipple sparing breast reconstruction patients to feel more confident about their reconstructed bodies, and
- Allowing for breast reconstruction with either a woman’s own body tissue, called a flap breast reconstruction, or a breast implant, called an implant-based breast reconstruction.
Am I a Candidate for a Nipple Sparing Breast Reconstruction?
While many Houston mastectomy patients may believe that a nipple sparing breast reconstruction is their ideal surgery, it is not a procedure that all breast cancer patients may be a candidate for. In order to be a qualified candidate for a nipple sparing breast reconstruction, a Houston woman must:
- Plan on having immediate breast reconstruction, rather than waiting weeks, months or even years after a mastectomy to have her breasts reconstructed;
- Have cancerous cells that her oncologist considers to be relatively small;
- Have cancerous cells that are located several centimeters away from the nipple, and in one area of the breast
- Have natural breasts that are small to medium in size; and
- Not have breasts that sag,
Can I Have a Nipple Sparing Breast Reconstruction if I am Having a Preventative Mastectomy?
When some Houston women learn about nipple sparing breast reconstruction, they wonder if the procedure is also available to women who are having a preventative mastectomy, such as non-cancer patients who are at high risk of developing breast cancer in the future, or women with cancer in one breast who opt for a double mastectomy for safety reasons. While there is potential risk of preserving the nipple, your breast surgeon and oncologist can discuss what this risk would be (if any) for you as an individual, as this risk varies. There are additional measures the breast surgeon can also take to ensure a low risk of future cancer in the nipple such as performing a biopsy of the tissue behind the nipple at the time of the nipple sparing mastectomy.
Is a Nipple Sparing Breast Reconstruction Right for Me?
While we’ve provided ample information about the nipple sparing breast reconstruction process, benefits and requirements, it can be difficult to identify yourself as a candidate for this cutting edge procedure. Only a consultation with our Houston plastic surgeons Drs. Fusi and Craig, who will coordinate your care with your oncologist and mastectomy surgeon, can determine if you are eligible for a nipple sparing breast reconstruction.
If you would like to see if nipple sparing breast reconstruction is an option for you, call Drs. Fusi and Craig for a breast reconstruction consultation at (203) 458-4444.