Goldilocks Mastectomy and Reconstruction

The Goldilocks Mastectomy was originally described by Dr. Richardson and Dr. Ma and creates a breast form out of the skin and fat that is left over after Wise-pattern mastectomy surgery. This leaves the patient with breast reduction scars which nicely reshapes the breast. Nipples can be often reconstructed or saved during this surgery. 

 This approach is commonly used in patients that are not interested in the risk, time and commitment required for a conventional reconstruction (implants or flaps) but do not want to be completely flat. Some patients, who are interested in traditional reconstruction, elect to combine the Goldilocks procedure with an implant or flap in one surgery to obtain the very best result possible. It is also sometimes used in high-risk patients as a safe first-stage operation before second stage implant or flap placement. Dr. Schwartz has published extensively on this approach to increase the safety and reliability of reconstruction in high-risk obese patients.

Goldilocks Mastectomy

Who is a good candidate?

The best candidates for this approach are patients who have significant excess skin and ptosis (nipple and skin are located far below breast crease). Obese patients are also good candidates because they have significant excess fat in their breasts than can be used to reconstruct the breast.  Most patients, however, end up with results that fall short of a complete reconstruction but can elect for a second surgery to add volume with an implant or their own tissues.  Dr. Schwartz has published extensively on this strategy as well.  If you are interested in a definitive reconstruction and are not high risk for complications (obesity, smoking, diabetes), Dr. Schwartz will recommend immediate addition of an implant or flap at the time of your Goldilocks surgery.  If you are high risk, he will likely recommend implant or flap placement in a second surgery to minimize complications.

Consultation and Procedure

During your consultation, Dr. Schwartz will evaluate your individual case and formulate a treatment plan that is right for you. Thanks to Dr. Schwartz’s access to a private Outpatient Surgery Center, patients who undergo bilateral Goldilocks Mastectomy are scheduled without a delay.  Goldilocks Mastectomy is always covered by health insurance companies and this coverage is guaranteed under federal law. 

Dr. Schwartz typically completes a unilateral Goldilocks surgery in 75 minutes and bilateral surgery in 2.5 hours under general anesthesia.  Typically, one drain is placed into each breast unless a significant lymph node dissection is performed (for more advanced cancers) when 2 drains will be placed.  Patients are discharged home on the day of surgery. Dressings are placed in the operating room which stay on until the following week when they are removed, and a sports bra is put on.

The scars of Goldilocks Mastectomy are identical to breast reduction surgery- around the areola, straight down to the breast crease and then in the breast crease- “anchor incision”.   Dr. Schwarz almost always makes an effort to reconstruct or save the nipple at the time of Goldilocks Mastectomy.   Some patients will elect to have an implant or flap placed at the time of Goldilocks surgery.  Dr. Schwartz has published on this approach.  This will obviously lengthen the procedure and recovery time.  Placing an implant during Goldilocks surgery will lengthen the procedure by approximately 20 minutes per side, while flap placement will add 2.5 hours per side.

Recovery and Results

Recovery times after Goldilocks Mastectomy vary depending on the individual breast size and whether unilateral or bilateral surgery is performed.   Recovery is typically two to three weeks and patients can expect to return to their normal activities and exercise within four weeks. Drains are left in place for 10-14 days.  Patients are placed in a sports bra at their first post-operative visit and should wear this for three months.   Most patients will have a reconstructive result that will fall short of a definitive reconstruction (with respect to size) and some patients will choose to improve their aesthetic result with fat transfer, implant placement of flap reconstruction 3-6 months after their initial surgery.  Results from Goldilocks mastectomy surgery are very good and are far superior to a traditional mastectomy where a straight line is places across the chest (breast amputation).

Your surgical or sports bra will need to be worn for 12 weeks following your surgery.  You should plan to be off work for 3-4 weeks, depending on the type of work you perform.   You also may feel pulling or stretching in your breast area. Although you may need pain medicine for a week or two, you can expect to feel better and stronger each day. For several weeks, you may get tired easily or have less energy than usual. You also may have the feeling that fluid is moving in your breasts. This feeling is normal and will go away over time.

Goldilocks Mastectomy results in significant changes in sensation, with most losing significant nipple sensation permanently.  Over time, much of the breast skin will regain normal sensation.    Keep in mind that it may take time to get used to your new breasts. You will have swelling at first. But the breasts will soften and appear more natural over time. You are likely to feel well enough to return to work after 2 to 4 weeks, based on your progress. You can usually resume normal physical activities in this time frame as well.   You should expect some scarring following Goldilocks Mastectomy; however, these scars will gradually fade over time.

Jean-Claude Schwartz, MD, PhD
Top Breast Surgeon In Atlanta

Breast Cancer & Reconstruction Surgeon

Dr. Schwartz is an internationally trained and recognized leader in the field of oncoplastic breast surgery.  He is rightfully referred to as the Top Breast Surgeon In Atlanta as there is no purely trained breast cancer surgeon in the United States with a more comprehensive reconstructive skillset nor who has made more original contributions to the varied areas of oncoplastic breast surgery than Dr. Schwartz. He is one of only two surgeons in Georgia, and a handful in the US, capable of breast tumor removal and immediate reconstruction in just one surgery. With over 6,000 surgeries performed, Dr. Schwartz is constantly perfecting and innovating new oncoplastic techniques to further improve a women’s breast appearance after breast cancer surgery.

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Client testimonials


It’s always the word of mouth that’s the best advice. Here are some of our client testimonials.
4.9-star rating, over 6000 surgeries completed.


If you are faced with a mastectomy surgery, you want the best surgeon. Dr. Schwartz is dedicated exclusively to breast surgery and reconstruction, and he has devoted his life to perfecting the appearance of women diagnosed with breast cancer. As a cancer survivor himself, Dr. Schwartz is known for his genuine compassion and unsurpassed commitment to providing the best surgical care tailored to each patient’s individual needs and desires. His innovative procedures and techniques have allowed him to offer his patients the widest range of surgical options available anywhere.