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ABSTRACT: Breast conserving surgery (BCS) has been the standard surgical procedure for the treatment of early breast cancer. Endoscopic subcutaneous mastectomy (ESM) plus immediate reconstruction with implants is an emerging procedure. The objective of this prospective study was to evaluate the clinical outcomes of these two surgical procedures in our clinical setting. From March 2004 to October 2007, 43 patients with breast cancer underwent ESM plus axillary lymph node dissection and immediate reconstruction with implants, while 54 patients underwent BCS. The clinical and pathological characteristics, surgical safety, and therapeutic effects were compared between the two groups. There were no significant differences in the age, clinical stage, histopathologic type of tumor, operative blood loss, postoperative drainage time, and postoperative complications between the two groups (P > 0.05). The postoperative complications were partial necrosis of the nipple and superficial skin flap in the ESM patients, and hydrops in the axilla and residual cavity in the BCS patients. There was no significant difference in the rate of satisfactory postoperative cosmetic outcomes between the ESM (88.4%, 38/43) and BCS (92.6%, 50/54) patients (P > 0.05). During follow-up of 6 months to 4 years, all patients treated with ESM were disease-free, but 3 patients who underwent BCS had metastasis or recurrence -one of these patients died of multiple organ metastasis. After considering the wide indications for use, high surgical safety, and favorable cosmetic outcomes, we conclude that ESM plus axillary lymph node dissection and immediate reconstruction with implants - the new surgery of choice for breast cancer - warrants serious consideration as the prospective next standard surgical procedure.