Aesthetic outcome and oncological safety of nipple-areola complex replantation after mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction

Wirth, Raphael; Banic, Andrej; Erni, Dominique (2010). Aesthetic outcome and oncological safety of nipple-areola complex replantation after mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction. Journal of plastic, reconstructive & aesthetic surgery, 63(9), pp. 1490-4. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.bjps.2009.08.014

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Immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) has become an established procedure for women necessitating mastectomy. Traditionally, the nipple-areola complex (NAC) is resected during this procedure. The NAC, in turn, is a principal factor determining aesthetic outcome after breast reconstruction, and due to its particular texture and shape, a natural-looking NAC can barely be reconstructed with other tissues. The aim of this study was to assess the oncological safety as well as morbidity and aesthetic outcome after replantation of the NAC some days after IBR. Retrospective analysis of 85 patients receiving 88 mastectomies and IBR between 1998 and 2007 was conducted. NAC (n=29) or the nipple alone (n=23) were replanted 7 days (median, range 2-10 days) after IBR in 49 patients, provided the subareolar tissue was histologically negative for tumour infiltration. Local recurrence rate was assessed after 49 months (median, range 6-120 months). Aesthetic outcome was evaluated by clinical assessment during routine follow-up at least 12 months after the last intervention. Malignant involvement of the subareolar tissue was found in eight cases (9.1%). Patients qualifying for NAC replantation were in stage 0 in 29%, stage I in 15%, stage IIa in 31%, stage IIb in 17% and stage III in 8%. Total or partial necrosis occurred in 69% and 26% if the entire NAC or only the nipple were replanted, respectively (P<0.01). Depigmentation was seen in 52% and corrective surgery was done in 11 out of 52 NAC or nipple replantations. Local recurrence and isolated regional lymph node metastasis were observed in one single case each. Another 5.8% of the patients showed distant metastases. We conclude that the replantation of the NAC in IBR is oncologically safe, provided the subareolar tissue is free of tumour. However, the long-term aesthetic outcome of NAC replantation is not satisfying, which advocates replanting the nipple alone.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Plastic and Hand Surgery > Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery

UniBE Contributor:

Wirth, Raphael; Banic, Andrej and Erni, Dominique








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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:07

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2013 13:19

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URI: (FactScience: 196017)

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