Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy

Unlike conventional mastectomy, nipple-sparing mastectomy keeps the patient’s natural skin, including the nipple and areola.

Surgeons at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics remove the inner breast tissue, reconstruct the breast to its original shape, and keep the patient’s own nipple and surrounding skin. In reconstructing the breast, the plastic surgeon can either use a flap of the patient’s own tissue from a different part of the body, or a breast implant.

Patients say they appreciate the natural-looking results of this procedure, and some cite a psychological advantage to preserving their natural breast features instead of having those features added later through further plastic surgery.

Some patients who are at very high risk of breast cancer may decide to complete this procedure before a tumor is ever found. For patients who already have tumors, the tumors must be small and located more than two centimeters from the nipple. A specially trained cancer surgeon can best explain the treatment options that will address your particular needs.

Keep in mind, just as with conventional mastectomy, nerve tissue below the nipple is removed, meaning that the patient will have little or no sensation in the nipple area after the surgery.


Sonia Sugg, MD, explains the different types of mastectomies available, including a new procedure called nipple-sparring mastectomy. Unlike conventional mastectomy, nipple-sparing mastectomy keeps the patient's natural skin, including the nipple and areola.


Thomas Lawrence, MD, a plastic surgeon at UI Hospitals and Clinics, describes the role of the plastic surgeon during a nipple-sparing mastectomy and his goal to create the most natural looking breast as possible following a breast tumor removal or preventative mastectomy.

Location and Contact

Cancer Clinic, Pomerantz Pavilion West Addition
Elevator M, Level 1

Care Team