Background: The effect of postoperative sensation on quality-of-life (QoL) following nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) with implant-based reconstruction is not well described. We evaluated the impact of breast and nipple sensation on patient QoL by using BREAST-Q. Methods: Patients undergoing NSM with implant reconstruction from 2008 to 2020 were mailed a survey to characterize their postoperative breast and nipple sensation. BREAST-Q metrics were compared between totally numb patients and those with sensation. Results: A total of 349 patients were included. Overall, 131 (38%) responded; response rates regarding breast and nipple sensation were 36% (N = 124/349) and 34% (N = 117/349). Median time from surgery to survey completion was 6 years. The majority had bilateral procedures (101, 77%), including direct-to-implant (99, 76%) and tissue expander (32, 24%) reconstruction. Regarding breast sensation, the majority of patients reported their reconstructed breasts as totally numb (47, 38%) or much less sensation than before surgery (59, 48%). Regarding nipple sensation, the majority of patients reported their nipples were totally numb (67, 57%) or had much less sensation than before surgery (37, 32%). Total numbness of reconstructed breasts resulted in a significantly lower chest physical well-being (mean score: 73.5 vs. 81.2, respectively, P = 0.048). Total numbness of postoperative nipple(s) resulted in significantly lower chest physical (mean score: 74.8 vs. 85.2, respectively, P = 0.007), psychosocial (mean score 77.4 vs. 84.4, respectively, P = 0.041), and sexual well-being (mean score: 55.7 vs. 68.3, respectively, P = 0.002). Conclusions: Long-term breast and nipple sensation are significantly diminished after NSM with implant reconstruction. Patients with preserved sensation experience better physical, psychosocial, and sexual well-being.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery|
|State||Accepted/In press - 2022|
- Breast reconstruction
- Nipple-sparing Mastectomy
ASJC Scopus subject areas