DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction in Patients with Breast Ptosis: 2-Stage Reconstruction Using 3-Dimensional Surface Imaging and a Printed Mold

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Background:Autologous breast reconstruction can be performed for breasts with ptosis to a certain extent, but if patients desire to correct ptosis, mastopexy of the contralateral breast is indicated. However, accurate prediction of post-mastopexy breast shape is difficult to make, and symmetrical breast reconstruction requires certain experience. We have previously reported the use of three-dimensional (3D) imaging and printing technologies in deep inferior epigastric artery perforator (DIEP) flap breast reconstruction. In the present study, these technologies were applied to the reconstruction of breasts with ptosis.Methods:Eight breast cancer patients with ptotic breasts underwent two-stage unilateral DIEP flap breast reconstruction. In the initial surgery, tissue expander (TE) placement and contralateral mastopexy are performed simultaneously. Four to six months later, 3D bilateral breast imaging is performed after confirming that the shape of the contralateral breast (post-mastopexy) is somewhat stabilized, and a 3D-printed breast mold is created based on the mirror image of the shape of the contralateral breast acquired using analytical software. Then, DIEP flap surgery is performed, where the breast mold is used to determine the required flap volume and to shape the breast mound.Results:All flaps were engrafted without any major perioperative complications during both the initial and DIEP flap surgeries. Objective assessment of cosmetic outcome revealed that good breast symmetry was achieved in all cases.Conclusions:The method described here may allow even inexperienced surgeons to achieve reconstruction of symmetrical, non-ptotic breasts with ease and in a short time. While the requirement of two surgeries is a potential disadvantage, our method will be particularly useful in cases involving TEs, i.e., delayed reconstruction or immediate reconstruction involving significant skin resection.

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