Top surgery (mastectomy and masculinization of the chest) is a key gender affirming operation for many female-to-male transgender patients. Positioning of the nipple-areola complex (NAC) is a crucial part of this procedure. To date, there are no standards as to where to place the new NAC based on the patient's anatomy, to achieve the most aesthetically pleasing result.
The objectives of this study were to review the literature and analyze the anatomical averages for NAC shape, width, and height as well as vertical and horizontal placement and to compile the recommendations and proposed equations of NAC placement based on chest wall measurements, chest wall landmarks, and body habitus.
A systematic review of the literature was conducted in the spring of 2018. Eleven articles met the inclusion criteria, with objective measurements of, and guidelines for, positioning the male NAC in men that had not been preselected for being aesthetically perfect.
The average diameter for a round NAC was 25.9 mm (SD, 2.5 mm), and the width and height of the oval-shaped NAC were found to be 25.3 mm (SD, 2.6 mm) and 20.1 mm (SD, 0.75 mm), respectively. The average sternal notch to nipple distance was found to be 19.3 cm (SD, 1.7 cm). The average internipple distance was 22.3 cm (SD, 1.6 cm).
The data are inconclusive about the effects of anatomical measurements on NAC vertical and horizontal position, but areola diameter is reasonably consistent. There are a wide variety of guidelines and algorithms offered for determining these measurements.