The aim of this study was to investigate whether skin-sparing mastectomy (SSM), which is gaining increasing importance and gives well-accepted cosmetic results, provides adequate treatment of the patients' oncologic disease. From 1995 to 2003, 60 patients diagnosed with invasive breast cancer were treated with SSM and complete axillary dissection. All patients underwent immediate breast reconstruction after primary surgery. Patients were treated either with a latissimus dorsi flap or with a transversus rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap. Depending on the intraoperative analysis of frozen sections, 14 patients were treated with preservation of the nipple-areola complex. During a median follow-up of 52 months (4-92 months), four local recurrences (6.6%) occurred. One patient was also found to have contralateral breast carcinoma. Three patients developed distant metastases, and two patients died of their disease a mean of 18 months after primary therapy. Factors associated with local recurrence were tumor size, poor tumor differentiation, and positive node involvement. SSM followed by immediate breast reconstruction is an alternative to modified radical mastectomy in a subset of patients with invasive breast cancer. The risk of local recurrence is low and is associated with such factors as tumor stage, poor tumor differentiation, and node-positive disease. This procedure does not increase the risk of distant metastases, which is comparable to that after other surgical approaches.