The incidence of nipple-sparing mastectomy is rising, but no single incision type has been proven to be superior. This study systematically evaluated the rate and efficacy of various nipple-sparing mastectomy incision locations, focusing on nipple-areola complex necrosis and reconstructive method.
A systematic literature review was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses guidelines identifying studies on nipple-sparing mastectomy where incision type was described. Pooled descriptive statistics meta-analysis of overall (nipple-areola complex) necrosis rate and nipple-areola complex necrosis by incision type was performed.
Fifty-one studies (9975 nipple-sparing mastectomies) were included. Thirty-two incision variations were identified and categorized into one of six groups: inframammary fold, radial, periareolar, mastopexy/prior scar/reduction, endoscopic, and other. The most common incision types were inframammary fold [3634 nipple-sparing mastectomies (37.8 percent)] and radial [3575 nipple-sparing mastectomies (37.2 percent)]. Meta-analysis revealed an overall partial nipple-areola complex necrosis rate of 4.62 percent (95 percent CI, 3.14 to 6.37 percent) and a total nipple-areola complex necrosis rate of 2.49 percent (95 percent CI, 1.87 to 3.21 percent). Information on overall nipple-areola complex necrosis rate by incision type was available for 30 of 51 studies (4645 nipple-sparing mastectomies). Periareolar incision had the highest nipple-areola complex necrosis rate (18.10 percent). Endoscopic and mastopexy/prior scar/reduction incisions had the lowest rates of necrosis at 4.90 percent and 5.79 percent, respectively, followed by the inframammary fold incision (6.82 percent). The rate of single-stage implant reconstruction increased during this period.
For nipple-sparing mastectomy, the periareolar incision maintains the highest necrosis rate because of disruption of the nipple-areola complex blood supply. The inframammary fold incision has become the most popular incision, demonstrating an acceptable complication profile.

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