Background: The authors performed a prospective study quantifying nipple-areola complex sensibility by computer-assisted neurosensory testing in breast hypertrophy before and after superolateral breast reduction.
Methods: A superolateral pedicle breast reduction was performed on 30 macromastia patients. The mean age of the patients was 46 years. The cup sizes of the patients were as follows: D, 14 patients; E, 12 patients; and EE, four patients. Ptosis was 3 degrees in 12 and 4 degrees in 18; nipple elevation ranged from 4 to 18 cm; glandular resection ranged from 379 to 1850 g. Static and moving one- and two-point discrimination was tested preoperatively and 6 months postoperatively at the nipple-areola complex, evaluating the impact of breast hypertrophy (D versus E and EE cups), nipple elevation (<9 cm versus ≥9 cm), and glandular resection (<900 g versus ≥900 g).
Results: Statistical analyses revealed preoperatively significant higher pressure thresholds in the nipple-areola complex of larger versus smaller hypertrophies and in the nipple of longer nipple-areola complex transposition breasts for static and moving one-point discrimination. Postoperatively, worsening of sensibility was more significant in the nipple-areola complex of smaller versus larger hypertrophies and of shorter versus longer nipple-areola complex transposition breasts for moving one-point discrimination.
Conclusions: This study confirms that macromastia patients present a reduced breast sensibility, which is not necessarily worsened by reduction mammaplasty. After reduction mammaplasty with the superolateral pedicle technique, nipple-areola complex sensibility might be slightly reduced, which is less detectable in large-breast hypertrophy because of lower preoperative levels of sensibility and less of a postoperative decrease.