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Accuracy of Three Software Applications for Breast Volume Calculations from Three-Dimensional Surface Images

Wesselius, Tycho S., M.D., M.Sc.; Verhulst, Arico C., M.Sc.; Vreeken, Rinaldo D., B.Sc.; Xi, Tong, M.D., Ph.D.; Maal, Thomas J. J., Ph.D.; Ulrich, Dietmar J. O., M.D., Ph.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: October 2018 - Volume 142 - Issue 4 - p 858–865
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000004728
Breast: Original Articles

Background: Knowing breast volumes before certain surgeries helps the surgeon to obtain breast symmetry. Calculating breast volumes from three-dimensional surface images is possible with specialized software applications. However, limited data exist concerning the accuracy of such volume calculations. The purpose of this study was to investigate the accuracy of breast volume calculations performed with the 3D BreAST, 3dMD Vultus, and VECTRA software applications.

Methods: Twenty-six subjects who underwent 44 mastectomies were enrolled. Preoperative three-dimensional surface images were acquired with a VECTRA-XT stereophotogrammetry device. Breast volumes were calculated from these images with the three software applications. The mastectomy specimens were weighed to derive their actual volume and compared with the software calculations.

Results: For all three methods, a positive correlation between the breast volume and absolute calculation error was found (p < 0.001), but not for the errors as a percentage of the breast volume (p = 0.17, p = 0.80, and p = 0.42). The 3D BreAST, 3dMD Vultus, and VECTRA applications provided mean volume calculation errors of 21, 186, and −32 ml (p = 0.27, p < 0.001, and p = 0.14) or 2 ± 25, 48 ± 26, and −6 ± 27 percent of the breast volume (p = 0.67, p < 0.001, and p = 0.16), respectively.

Conclusions: Despite that two applications calculated accurate mean breast volumes, all applications showed a high standard deviation in terms of the percentage of the breast volume. Therefore, the usefulness of absolute breast volume calculations from three-dimensional surface images seems limited.


Nijmegen, The Netherlands

From the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive-, and Hand Surgery; and the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; and 3D Lab Radboudumc, Radboud University Medical Center.

Received for publication August 4, 2017; accepted March 16, 2018.

Disclosure: None of the authors has a financial interest in any of the products or devices mentioned in this article. The 3D BreAST is software that was written by the corresponding author as part of his Ph.D. thesis at our 3D Lab Radboudumc. We do not exploit the software financially or commercially. Nor do we intend to do this in the future.

Tycho S. Wesselius, M.D., M.Sc., Radboud University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands,

©2018American Society of Plastic Surgeons