“Mammacompliance”: An Objective Technique for Measuring Capsular Fibrosis

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Abstract

The results achieved with silicone implants are usually assessed on the basis of the clinical and therefore subjective technique of Baker's classification. Yet, for scientific studies, more objective measurements are clearly necessary. For this reason, the calliper originally developed by Burkhardt and used for measuring compressibility of the breast was adapted, adding a force transducer and a distance-measuring device, which allowed us to plot a force-distance graph for each breast. In soft breasts, the curves obtained rise very slightly, while firm breasts produce sharply rising curves. The data computed from the graphs give the degree of “mammacompliance” and are expressed in centimeters at a defined force value. Sixty-eight augmented and reconstructed breasts were examined with this device. Measurements also were taken on a series of 59 normal, untreated breasts for comparison. A strong correlation was found between the mammacompliance values and Baker's classification. At the same time, the results revealed a number of clinical misjudgments. Our technique permits the objective assessment of capsular contracture. Being highly sensitive, it is an excellent method to control and monitor postoperative development and therapeutic concept.

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