One of the most common operations performed for the treatment of breast cancer is a complete mastectomy, which involves removal of all of the breast tissue. Mastectomy approaches have evolved over time and many women are now able to safely have nipple-sparing mastectomies in the hands of well-trained breast surgeons. When combined with immediate breast reconstruction, women can have outcomes where their breasts look the same, or even better, than they did before their mastectomy. However, despite the significantly improved cosmetic outcomes in breast reconstruction with these techniques, most women don’t realize that they will have little if any, sensation in their breast skin or nipple skin after surgery.
Because of the way the nerves to the breast skin and nipple travel through the breast tissue, traditional mastectomies tend to cut through these nerves, which leads to breast skin and nipple numbness for many women, or even sometimes, painful sensations at the cut nerve ends. To try to prevent this numbness or pain, our team (Dr. Anne Peled, breast oncology and reconstructive surgeon, and Dr. Ziv Peled, peripheral nerve and plastic surgeon) have been doing sensation-preserving mastectomies, where we either carefully preserve the nerves during nipple-sparing mastectomies and/or do nerve grafting if nerves cannot be preserved safely. We have already done a number of these mastectomies combined with immediate implant reconstruction and most women are telling us that their breasts feel almost the same or exactly the same as they did before surgery!
We are so excited to be able to offer this innovative new approach for women considering mastectomy for breast cancer treatment or breast cancer prevention. Please contact us at 415-923-3011 to learn more.