Background. Subcutaneous mastectomy and reconstruction (SMR) is well established; however, most incisions are made directly on the breast, and the majority of patients care about visible scars even if they are satisfied with the reconstructed breast. Methods. From August 1998 to March 2001, a total of 46 patients (including 2 bilateral cases) with breast cancer underwent SMR using a saline-filled prosthesis by lateral axillary incision. There were 25 patients who received previous SMR without endoscopic assistance (group A) and 21 patients who underwent an endoscope-assisted SMR (E-SMR) (group B). These 2 groups were compared for curability, morbidity, and cosmesis. Results. The median follow-up period was 19.2 + 9.8 months (range, 5.8-35.2 months). No significant difference was found in clinicopathologic data between the 2 groups. The operation time was 176 minutes in group A and 237 minutes in group B, and the estimated blood loss was 189 mL vs 356 mL, respectively. No critical complications were seen in either group. The average length of incision was 10 cm in group A and 5.7 cm in group B. As for the patients’ satisfaction, the incidence of “excellent” plus “good” ratings was 76% in group A and 90.4% in group B. Conclusions. E-SMR is a new option that can provide an improved operative view and better cosmetic results for the treatment of breast cancer than with SMR. The operation time is longer than for SMR, but the incision is drastically shorter, resulting in better cosmesis and increased patient satisfaction.
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