Article Abstract

Nipple-areolar complex reconstruction and patient satisfaction: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Authors: Ellen S. Satteson, Benjamin J. Brown, Maurice Y. Nahabedian


Background: Nipple-areola complex (NAC) reconstruction transforms a mound of soft tissue into a breast and often marks the final stage of breast reconstruction after mastectomy.
Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted in accordance with the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. Articles were classified based on the nipple reconstructive technique—either composite nipple sharing or local flap with nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) used as a control. A standardized “Satisfaction Score” (SS) for “nipple appearance” and “nipple sensation” was calculated for each technique. A Fisher’s exact test was used to compare the SS with local flap reconstruction with NSM.
Results: Twenty-three studies met the systematic review inclusion criteria. Nine NSM articles were identified with patient satisfaction data from 473 patients. The weighted average SS for NSM was 80.5%. Fourteen local flap technique articles were identified with satisfaction data from 984 patients and a weighted average SS of 73.9%. This was a statistically significant difference (P=0.0079). C-V and badge local flap techniques were associated with the highest SS, 92.6% and 90.5%, respectively. C-V and modified C-V flap technique was associated with a higher SS when compared to those using one or more other flap techniques (P=0.0001).
Conclusions: While patient satisfaction with nipple reconstruction is high regardless of technique, it is higher with NSM. When NSM is not an option, local flap reconstruction with a C-V or modified C-V flap may be associated with higher satisfaction than alternative local flap techniques.