Anatomy relevant to conservative mastectomy

Rachel L. O’Connell, Jennifer E. Rusby


Knowledge of the anatomy of the nipple and breast skin is fundamental to any surgeon practicing conservative mastectomies. In this paper, the relevant clinical anatomy will be described, mainly focusing on the anatomy of the “oncoplastic plane”, the ducts and the vasculature. We will also cover more briefly the nerve supply and the arrangement of smooth muscle of the nipple. Finally the lymphatic drainage of the nipple and areola will be described. An appreciation of the relevant anatomy, together with meticulous surgical technique may minimise local recurrence and ischaemic complications.