Surgical Nipple Delay and its Expanded Indications for Nipple-sparing Mastectomy

Phoebe L. Lee, Irene T. Ma, Mark Asher Schusterman, Justin Beiriger, Gretchen Ahrendt, Carolyn De La Cruz, Emilia J. Diego, Jennifer G. Steiman, Priscilla F. McAuliffe, Michael L. Gimbel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Necrosis of the nipple-areolar complex (NAC) or surrounding skin has been reported in 6%-30% of nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) patients, with higher rates associated with larger breasts, previous breast surgery, previous radiation, and active smoking. The nipple delay (ND) procedure is known to improve viability of the NAC in NSM patients with high-risk factors. Methods: A single-institution retrospective review was done of patients who underwent ND and NSM or NSM alone from 2012 to 2022. Patient demographics, risk factors, and outcomes were compared. Results: Forty-two breasts received ND-NSM and 302 breasts received NSM alone. The ND-NSM group had significantly more high-risk factors, including elevated BMI (26.3 versus 22.9; P < 0.001), elevated prior breast surgery (50% versus 25%; P < 0.001), and greater mastectomy specimen weight (646.6 versus 303.2 g; P < 0.001). ND-NSM was more likely to have undergone preparatory mammoplasty before NSM (27% versus 1%; P < 0.001). There was no delay in NSM treatment from decision to pursue NSM (P = 0.483) or difference in skin necrosis (P = 0.256), NAC necrosis (P = 0.510), hematoma (P = 0.094), seroma (P = 0.137), or infection (P = 0.437) between groups. ND-NSM and NSM patients differed in total NAC necrosis (0% versus 3%) and implant loss (0% vs 13%), but not significantly. Conclusions: We demonstrated no NAC necrosis and no significant delay of treatment in higher risk ND-NSM patients. ND may allow higher risk patients to undergo NSM with similar morbidity as lower risk patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E4783
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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