Nipple necrosis, a potential postoperative complication of breast surgery procedures, should be avoided. Because of the great variation in the blood supply to the nipple, it is advisable to include as many arteries in the pedicle as possible. According to the literature, the perforators of the internal thoracic artery are the most constant and reliable sources of blood to the nipple-areola complex. It is also supplied by the lateral thoracic artery and the anterior intercostal arteries. If two of the above-mentioned main vessel branches are included in the pedicle, the vascular supply to the breast will be more reliable. According to the anatomical studies of Würinger and van Deventer, we can safely include the dual blood supply to the nipple-areola complex.
In the authors' technique, a pedicle is raised that includes the horizontal septum and the medial vertical ligament of the breast (i.e., inferior and superomedial pedicles), but with the breast tissue remaining attached to the pectoral fascia. The second, third, and fourth perforators of the internal thoracic artery are found in the medial vertical ligament, and the inferior mammary branches of the anterior intercostal arteries are in the horizontal septum. The authors have performed this technique in 106 consecutive patients (211 breasts) between 2001 and 2009.
Good results regarding breast shape, nipple projection, and upper breast fullness were obtained.
The posteroinferomedial pedicle technique is safe and versatile and can be used with a periareolar, vertical scar, or inverted-T skin approach. The technique is easy to perform and has a short learning curve.
Bellville, South Africa
From the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch.
Received for publication November 5, 2009; revised March 3, 2010.
Disclosure: The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.
Petrus V. van Deventer, M.B.Ch.B., M.Med.Sc.(Anat.), M.Med.; P.O. Box 6115; Welgemoed 7538, South Africa; firstname.lastname@example.org