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The Impact of Reduction Mammaplasty on Breast Sensation: An Analysis of Multiple Surgical Techniques

Spear, Marcia E. DNP*; Nanney, Lillian B. PhD*; Phillips, Sharon MSPH; Donahue, Rafe PhD; Rogers, Karen Meier MD*; Wendel, Jason J. MD*; Summit, Blair MD*; Kelly, Kevin MD*; Shack, R. Bruce MD*; Hagan, Kevin F. MD*

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e3182126854
Breast Surgery

Our prospective clinical trial collected sensory data using a computerized pressure-specified sensory device comparing 4 procedures for reduction mammaplasty. A total of 48 patients were assessed at baseline, 6 weeks (n = 42), 6 months (n = 15), and 1 year (n = 24) postoperatively. The findings of our study showed pressure sensitivity for women <43 years of age improved by pressure-specified sensory device assessment; whereas, outcome data merely indicated return to baseline in pressure sensitivity for women ≥ 43 years of age. Improved sensitivities for moving and static pressures were found in patients receiving vertical or inferior pedicle reduction mammaplasties. Reductions based on superior pedicles exhibited sensory loss as compared with baseline measurements while those receiving free nipple grafts showed negligible change. Moving and static sensation showed differential return after breast reduction irrespective of the specific surgical approach but sensation was uniquely conserved for the nipple. In the total cohort, the type of breast reduction procedure did not produce significant differences in breast sensation.

From the Departments of *Plastic Surgery and †Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

Received November 8, 2010, and accepted for publication, after revision, January 25, 2011.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Marcia Spear, DNP, 1161 21st Ave South, S-2221 Medical Center North, Vanderbilt School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.