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A Retrospective Photometric Study of 82 Published Reports of Mastopexy and Breast Reduction

Swanson, Eric M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: December 2011 - Volume 128 - Issue 6 - p 1282–1301
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318230c884
Cosmetic: Original Articles

Background: Numerous publications claim to improve breast projection and upper pole fullness after mastopexy or breast reduction. Fascial sutures and “autoaugmentation” with local flaps are advocated. However, there is no objective evidence that these efforts are effective. The author has proposed a measuring system to quantitate results. Not only is this system useful for assessing one's own results, but it may also be used to assess and compare results in published studies.

Methods: Eighty-two international publications on mastopexies and breast reductions were analyzed. The studies were grouped by technique: inverted-T (superior/medial, central, and inferior pedicles), vertical, periareolar, inframammary, lateral, and “other.” Measurements were made using the definitions and terminology reported separately and included breast projection, upper pole projection, lower pole level, nipple level, breast convexity, breast parenchymal ratio, and lower pole ratio. Areola shape was assessed.

Results: Breast projection and upper pole projection were not increased significantly by any of the mastopexy/reduction procedures or by the use of fascial sutures or autoaugmentation techniques. Nipple overelevation was common (41.9 percent). The incidence of the teardrop areola deformity (53.8 percent) was significantly higher (p < 0.001) in patients treated with the open technique of nipple placement. There was no significant difference in results when compared by follow-up times, resection weights, year of publication, or geographic region.

Conclusions: Existing mastopexy/reduction techniques do not significantly increase breast projection or upper pole projection. Fascial sutures and autoaugmentation techniques are ineffective. Nipple overelevation and the teardrop areola deformity are common problems and should be avoided.

Leawood, Kans.

From private practice.

Received for publication March 31, 2011; accepted June 20, 2011.

Disclosure: The author has no financial interests to disclose. This study received no outside funding.

Eric Swanson, M.D.; 11413 Ash Street, Leawood, Kans. 66211,

©2011American Society of Plastic Surgeons