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Endoscopic-assisted subcutaneous mastectomy and axillary dissection with immediate mammary prosthesis reconstruction for early breast cancer

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Background: Endoscopic surgery has been applied successfully in breast lump excision, breast augmentation, subcutaneous mastectomy for gynecomastia, and axillary dissection. Since subcutaneous mastectomy has been proven to be oncologically safe for early breast cancer, we have sought to develop a reproducible minimally invasive endoscopicassisted technique to address this condition. Methods: Between December 1998 and May 1999, endoscopic- assisted subcutaneous mastectomy and axillary dissection with immediate reconstruction using a mammary prosthesis was performed in nine patients with early breast cancer at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong. A 5-cm skin incision was made along the line of the lowest axillary skin crease. Dissection was continued down to the lateral border of the pectoralis major muscle. A subpectoral pocket was gently created by an endoscopic breast dissector. The endoscopic breast retractor and 10-mm/30° scope were introduced into the subpectoral pocket, and further dissection was carried out using a 7-in harmonic scalpel under endoscopic vision down to a level 1 cm caudal to the inframammary fold. This subpectoral space was used for the insertion of the mammary prosthesis later on. Endoscopicassisted subcutaneous mastectomy was performed afterward. Combined level I and level II axillary dissection was carried out via the same incision under direct vision. Results: Apart from minor skin flap bruises in our first two patients, there were no major complications. Histological examination of all the specimens showed clear margins. Postoperative radiotherapy and chemotherapy were given in the usual manner. All patients were satisfied with the reconstructive outcome. Conclusions: We have described a novel endoscopic technique for subcutaneous mastectomy with immediate mammary prosthesis reconstruction in treating early breast cancer patient. This technique can minimize skin incision, reduce blood loss, and improve reconstructive outcome. It is easy to learn and well accepted by patients.

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Ho, W., Ying, S. & Chan, A. Endoscopic-assisted subcutaneous mastectomy and axillary dissection with immediate mammary prosthesis reconstruction for early breast cancer. Surg Endosc 16, 302–306 (2002).

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