Aim: To review the oncological safety and aesthetic advantage of skin-sparing mastectomy (SSM) for invasive breast cancer (IBC) and ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS). Controversies including the impact of radiotherapy (RT) on immediate breast reconstruction (IBR), preservation of the nipple-areola complex (NAC) and the role of endoscopic mastectomy are also considered. Methods: Literature review using Medline and PubMed. Results: SSM is safe in selected cases; including IBC <5cm, multi-centric tumours, DCIS and for risk-reduction surgery. Inflammatory breast cancers and tumours with extensive involvement of the skin represent contra-indications to SSM due to an unacceptable risk of local recurrence. SSM can facilitate IBR and is associated with an excellent aesthetic result. Prior breast irradiation or the need for post-mastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT) do not preclude SSM, however the cosmetic outcome may be adversely affected. Nipple/areola preservation is safe for peripherally located node negative tumours. A frozen section protocol for the retro-areolar tissue should be considered in these cases. The advent of acellular tissue matrix systems has widened the applicability of implant-based immediate reconstruction following SSM. Data on endoscopic mastectomy is limited and superiority over conventional SSM has not been demonstrated. Conclusion: SSM is safe in selected cases and is associated with advantages over simple mastectomy, including a superior aesthetic outcome and a potential reduction in the number of reconstructive procedures per patient.
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