Avoiding a Systematic Error in Assessing Fat Graft Survival in the Breast with Repeated Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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Several techniques for measuring breast volume (BV) are based on examining the breast on magnetic resonance imaging. However, when techniques designed to measure total BV are used to quantify BV changes, for example, after fat grafting, a systematic error is introduced because BV changes lead to contour alterations of the breast. The volume of the altered breast includes not only the injected volume but also tissue previously surrounding the breast. Therefore, the quantitative difference in BV before and after augmentation will differ from the injected volume. Here, we present a new technique to measure BV changes that compensates for this systematic error by defining the boundaries of the breast to immovable osseous pointers. This approach avoids the misinterpretation of tissue included within the expanded boundaries as graft tissue. This new method of analysis may be a reliable tool for assessing BV changes to determine fat graft retention and may be useful for evaluating and comparing available surgical techniques for breast augmentation and reconstruction using fat grafting.

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