The Society of Surgical Oncology, inc.
The American Society of Breast Surgeons.
Annals of Surgical Oncology

Log in | Register

Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy and Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy: Timing and Postoperative Complications

Alex J. Bartholomew MS, Ornela A. Dervishaj MD, Michael Sosin MD, Lauren T. Kerivan BS, Shawndeep S. Tung MD, Diana L. Caragacianu MD, Shawna C. Willey MD, Eleni A. Tousimis MD, FACS
Breast Oncology
Volume 26, Issue 9 / September , 2019



As the demand for nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) increases and surgeons expand the eligibility criteria, a subset of patients may become candidates following neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). However, the impact of NACT on postoperative complications remains unclear as the current literature is discordant.


A single-institution, retrospective chart review was performed on patients undergoing NSM from 1989 to 2017. Patient demographics, surgical intervention, systemic treatment, and complication rates were collected. Primary outcomes were 30-day postoperative complications, including nipple-areolar necrosis, skin flap necrosis, infection, wound dehiscence, hematoma, and seroma. Secondary outcomes included characterization of the timing between chemotherapy and surgical intervention, and the impact on complication rates. Each breast was considered independently for analysis, and breasts undergoing either NACT or primary surgery (PS) were compared.


Of the 832 breasts included, 88 (10.6%) received NACT and 744 (89.4%) underwent PS. Baseline complication rates were not significantly different between the NACT group and the PS group (5.7% vs. 10.6%; p = 0.119). When controlling for age, body mass index (BMI), smoking, and prior radiation, NACT was not a predictor of complications. Time from completion of NACT to PS occurred at a median of 40.5 days (interquartile range 31.3–55.3), and decreased intervals were not associated with increased complication rates.


Postoperative complications following NSM in patients completing NACT are comparable with those receiving PS. Patients undergoing NACT do not have a significantly increased risk of necrosis, unintended reoperations, or nipple loss. NACT should not be considered a contraindication for NSM.

Add a comment

0 comment(s)



Join the conversation!

Follow the journal on Twitter and Facebook

Help to expand the reach of the journal to support the research and practice needs of surgical oncologists and their patients.