Vertical Mammaplasty: Early Complications after 250 Personal Consecutive Cases

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No surgeon likes to face complications. It takes effort to treat them personally and more effort to note, count, analyze, and demonstrate them. The author carefully followed 250 personal consecutive patients (476 breasts) who underwent vertical mammaplasties between 1990 and 1998; studying the complications and their relationship with the types of breasts and patients was very instructive.

The main observations from this study follow. The most frequent benign complication was seroma (5 percent of breasts), which usually required one or two aspirations after surgery. Hematomas occurred in six patients (1.2 percent of breasts), who had all had mastopexies. Hematomas required immediate surgical evacuation. The major complication of breast reduction, i.e., areola necrosis, was rare (only two partial necroses occurred), but it left deformities that were difficult to correct. Infection without tissue necrosis was rare (two cases), and healing complications happened in only 5.4 percent of all cases. Healing complications were directly related to the size and fat content of the breasts. None occurred in mastopexy cases. For reductions, delayed skin healing was observed in 5 percent of cases and delayed breast tissue healing in 3 percent of cases. More healing complications occurred after liposuction of the breast, which was performed in the more fatty breasts. Delayed healing of skin and breast tissue was bothersome because healing was slow, but it left only a moderate deformity. In cases of delayed healing, frequent dressings, rinsing the wound with antiseptic solutions, giving antibiotics if needed, and refraining from early surgical intervention are the keys to success. Good personal contact with the patient, especially if healing is slow, is the best way of helping her and avoiding aggressive attitudes.

In conclusion, this survey revealed few complications; however, it does show that the risk of delayed and slow healing is greater in larger breasts. In obese patients, a simpler operation may be indicated, such as liposuction with skin reduction alone or a free nipple graft, as long as the patient is not motivated to obtain the best possible result. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 104: 764, 1999).

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