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Understand skin-sparing mastectomy procedures

Skin sparing mastectomy involves the removal of all the tissue and glands in the breast, while the skin is left intact. This skin is then used in the reconstruction of the breast to make it look natural. The nipple of the and surrounding skin as well as the point for the original biopsy scar are also removed. The surgeon uses the opening that has been made to remove the tumors and all other tissues so that much skin is preserved as possible.
This procedure is considered effective and safe for the removal  breast cancerous tumors. Apart from the breast, mastectomies are also done under the arm to remove the lymph nodes.
Conditions where a doctor may not recommend a skin-sparing mastectomy

  • If the doctor finds that the tumor cells are very close to the skin
  • If the skin is part of the breast tumor such as in the case of inflammatory breast cancer
  • If the patient has multiple tumors
  • The patient will not be having reconstructive surgery immediately after having a mastectomy. In this case, the surgeon will remove as much skin as possible to reduce scarring.

Benefits of using this procedure 

  • The skin-sparing mastectomy enables the reconstructed breast to look natural with minimal scarring on the surrounding skin
  • The preservation of the part of her body helps in improving the symptoms of depression that accompany cancer treatments especially mastectomies. After the breast is reconstructed, the woman feels normal like felt before the procedure.
  • This procedure is as effective and safe as any other procedure that is used for the removal of breast tumors. It is now becoming the most popular type of breast mastectomy.

 What are other types of mastectomy options available? 
There are other options available for women who have breast tumors that need to be removed. These options include,
Total simple mastectomy 
This procedure involves the removal of the nipple, the whole breast as well as the areola. The lymph nodes are not removed in the procedure. Where the patient does not have reconstructive surgery around the same time, she makes a full recovery in less than two weeks.
Modified radical mastectomy
This procedure involves the removal of the nipple, lymph nodes around the armpit, the areola, and the breast.
Scar-sparing mastectomy 
The procedure involves hollowing out of the breast to minimize the number of cuts that are visible. This surgery can be used to preserve the skin, the nipple, or the areola.
It is important that the patients discuss with the breast cancer surgeon about the available options for removing the tumors and reconstructing the breast. Where possible, a skin-sparing mastectomy is always recommended by the surgeon for the benefits stated above.


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