Every now and again, something comes along that is completely new to me. This report from the Netherlands certainly qualifies. It suggests that nearly 20% of women who had early stage breast cancer and were being treated with mastectomy opted to preserve and re-use their nipple. I will not go into the details of the procedure; it frankly sounds quite creepy (although surely innovative) to me, and you can read it for yourself in the article below. Many (most?) plastic surgeons whom I know are usually reluctant to try to preserve the nipple/aerola complex when doing a mastectomy. The obvious worry is that there might be cancer cells in that tissue and preserving them would pretty much negate the value of the whole surgery. I have known women who were able to preserve the nippe/aerola and were pleased with the cosmetic result.
This is a summary from the study's abstract about women's satisfaction with the process:
Results: In total, 318 of the 479 eligible women (66%) completed our questionnaire. Of these, 58 (18%) had undergone nipple banking, 167 (53%) had chosen for tattoos/flap, and 93 women (29%) declined reconstruction. No significant psychological and psychosexual differences between these three groups were found. Most patients were satisfied with the offer and choice of nipple banking , though they experienced more medical complications.
Here is the report from MedPage:
Nipple Banking Favored by Some Mastectomy Patients
By Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published August 28, 2012
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
CHICAGO - Women with breast cancer scheduled to undergo mastectomy may be open to nipple banking in order to preserve something of their own breasts, Dutch researchers said here.
Nearly 20% of women with earlystage breast cancer opted to store their nipples away in their groin so that they could be attached to their reconstructed breast after surgery, Daniela Hahn, MD, of the Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital in Amsterdam, and colleagues reported during a poster session at the World Meeting on Sexual Medicine here.
Nipple banking involves removing the original nipple and temporarily transplanting it into the patient's groin area for safekeeping, for an average of 9 months, until breast reconstruction is complete, Hahn said.
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