Dr. Wasif explains if a woman will be awake during the nipple-sparing mastectomy procedure and describes the surgery.
No, absolutely not. This is a, you have to be completely under and you won’t feel anything; you won’t remember anything.
So let me walk you through what would happen with this kind of a procedure. We generally do this in concert with the plastic surgeons and the procedure starts with a small incision and around the nipple itself.
The length of the surgery varies, but it’s usually about an hour and a half to maybe two hours and most of the time the plastic surgeon will perform a reconstruction at the same time, and that’s really what takes the bulk of time and depending on what kind of reconstruction the plastic surgeons are doing, that would add another four to five hours to the surgery.
But for then nipple-sparing mastectomy itself, you are talking about an hour and a half to two hours maybe. Afterwards what you can expect is you will have a significant amount of numbness around the nipple and around the anterior part, or which is the front part, of your breast itself. Sometimes some of that sensation comes back, but in many cases it can be permanent.
The biggest danger and the biggest fear we have with a nipple-sparing mastectomy is that we interrupt the blood supply of the nipple and that the nipple doesn’t survive. As we get, over the years, as we’ve gotten more experience with the procedure that rarely happens. It still happens about 5 to 10% of the time, in which case you have to have the nipple removed and then you have it reconstructed the old fashion way, but that is just something to keep in mind.
A lot of the times you will notice some color differences between the nipple that we preserved and your other nipple and that eventually also resolves, which probably over the course of a couple of months.
About Dr. Nabil Wasif, M.D.:
Dr. Nabil Wasif, M.D., is a general surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, certified by the American Board of Surgery. He graduated from Aga Khan University Medical College in Pakistan and completed his residency in general surgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell in New York. His interests include surgical oncology, general surgery, GI oncology, breast cancer, melanoma, and sarcomas.