- Question from Chemo: What are the pros and cons of having the other breast reduced after a one-sided mastectomy?
- Answers - Maurice Nahabedian The primary benefit of having the opposite side reduced is that there will be an improvement in overall symmetry. The risk is that there will be additional scars on that breast that is otherwise healthy. The incidence in my practice of having to perform surgery on the opposite breast is about 15 to 20%.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. The implication of that is you're able to achieve an acceptable level of symmetry without doing surgery on the other breast.
- Maurice Nahabedian Yes.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. What about potential loss of nipple sensation on the other breast when you do a lift? Can you explain where the nerve supply to the nipple comes from and how can the surgeon protect sensation of the nipple during such a procedure?
The nerves that supply sensation to the nipples actually come from a variety of nerves and in a variety of directions. They can target the nipple from the lateral (side) aspect as well as from underneath the nipples. There's a lateral and medial division that will supply the sensation to the nipple as well as some nerves that come up directly from the chest wall to the nipple.
Following breast reduction, there is a 40 to 50% incidence of temporary altered sensation and a 10% risk of permanently altered sensation of the nipple-areola complex. Following a lift (or mastopexy), the incidence of altered sensation is much less because many of these nerves do not require division.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. Can a woman breast-feed after a breast lift?
- Maurice Nahabedian A woman can breast-feed after a breast lift so long as the ducts to the nipple are not divided. In general, they do not require division during a lift procedure. However, during a breast reduction, many of these ducts are divided and breast-feeding can be compromised.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Breast Reconstruction featured Maurice Nahabedian, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about different techniques in breast reconstruction, the pros and cons of implants and body tissue transfers, when you might want to reconstruct, and many more issues related to rebuilding your breast/s after breast cancer surgery.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in November 2003.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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