In the wake of news that Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy after discovering she carried the BRCA gene, some women wonder what their surgical options – and resulting appearance – may be if they underwent the same elective surgery.
Available surgical options exist, including the “nipple sparing approach” that can preserve the nipple, areola and surrounding breast skin. Yet options vary depending on the individual and – if cancer already exists – how advanced the case may be. Every case must be discussed and explored by the patient, her oncologist, and a highly skilled plastic surgeon.
“Many women hear ‘total mastectomy’ and think their options are limited and their feminine appearance will be radically, dramatically and permanently changed – often for the worse,” said Dr. Sean Simon, M.D., a double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in Miami, Florida. “While the goal first and foremost is to ensure total removal of the affected or threatened breast tissue, and there will be scarring following any mastectomy, new procedures can help preserve tissue so the patient has a more natural appearance after full recovery.”
Many patients don’t realize that the nipple can be preserved, even during total mastectomy – for the right surgical candidate, Dr. Simon said. In the “nipple sparing approach,” the goal is to keep all of the breast’s exterior skin as well as the nipple-areolar complex (NAC), while removing the breast tissue.
Nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) removes the internal breast tissue and other areas as needed to improve the success of the mastectomy itself. During the mastectomy, the breast tissue immediately beneath the NAC is removed and immediately sent to pathology to ensure it contains no evidence of cancer. If found clear, the nipple-areola complex can be left in place and utilized as part of the breast reconstruction.
The NAC’s viability often can be determined prior to surgery, with the success of the procedure often dependent upon what is found during surgery, as well as the skill of the surgeon and the technique involved.
By preserving the NAC and the breast skin, patients enjoy long-term, post-operative of more natural looking breasts following reconstruction. The complete breast shape and look is maintained and often can be improved so that the reconstructed breast is nicer in appearance than the original, natural breast, Dr. Simon said.
“Many surgeons applaud Angelina Jolie, both for making the courageous decision for prophylaxis mastectomy, as well as going public and encouraging other women to more widely consider their available options,” Dr. Simon said. “The right surgical candidate with the right surgeon can experience a very positive outcome, one that’s cancer-free and leaves her with the feminine appearance of natural looking, healthy breasts.”
ABOUT DR. SEAN SIMON M.D.: Dr. Sean Simon M.D. is a double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who has run a successful private practice in Miami, Florida, since 2006. A graduate of the prestigious University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Dr. Simon specializes in the most advanced techniques for procedures such as breast augmentation, breast lift, tummy tuck, body sculpting and buttocks augmentation as well as reconstruction after breast cancer surgery. Additionally he offers Laser Liposculpture, Laser Hair Removal and skin treatments utilizing the most technologically advanced Palomar laser systems. Dr. Simon’s office is located at 6200 Sunset Drive, Suite 501, in Miami, Florida.
SOURCE: LS Venture Partners
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