Background: The selections of nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) are principally depending on oncologic indication and oncologic safety. The main complication of NSM is nipple areolar complex (NAC) necrosis, and it is usually related to surgical technique. However, the patients' clinicopathological factors should be also considered. Method: We retrospectively reviewed 934 consecutive NSM patients during 2002-2007 at the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy. We identified a group of patient who had NAC excision because of NAC necrosis and compared this group with those who had successful NAC conservation. We analyzed the association between the risk of NAC necrosis and the clinicopathological features of the patients. Results: Among 934 NSM, 772 were invasive cancers and 162 were in situ cancers. Of the 934, 40 NAC (4.2 %) were removed during the postoperative period because of necrosis. When we considered age, BMI, menopausal status, smoking status, tumor size, axillary lymph node status, in situ or invasive cancer histology, presence of extensive situ component, grading, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, HER2/neu overexpression, Ki-67 proliferative index, and peritumoral vascular invasion, no association was observed between patients' clinicopathological features and NAC necrosis incidence. Conclusions: In our study, clinicopathological features have no significant impact on necrosis complication in therapeutic NSMs. Positive retroareolar margin is the risk of necrosis. Further studies are required to avoid bias due to the different cancer treatments such as different reconstruction techniques and intraoperative radiation protocols. The correlation between breast morphology and NAC necrosis should also be investigated in the future.
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