A Process for Quantifying Aesthetic and Functional Breast Surgery: I. Quantifying Optimal Nipple Position and Vertical and Horizontal Skin Excess for Mastopexy and Breast Reduction

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This article defines a comprehensive process using quantified parameters for objective decision making, operative planning, technique selection, and outcomes analysis in mastopexy and breast reduction, and defines quantified parameters for nipple position and vertical and horizontal skin excess. Future submissions will detail application of the processes for skin envelope design and address composite, three-dimensional parenchyma modification options.


Breast base width was used to define a proportional, desired nipple-to–inframammary fold distance for optimal aesthetics. Vertical and horizontal skin excess were measured, documented, and used for technique selection and skin envelope design in mastopexy and breast reduction. This method was applied in 124 consecutive mastopexy and 122 consecutive breast reduction cases. Average follow-up was 4.6 years (range, 6 to 14 years).


No changes were made to the basic algorithm of the defined process during the study period. No patient required nipple repositioning. Complications included excessive lower pole restretch (4 percent), periareolar scar hypertrophy (0.8 percent), hematoma (1.2 percent), and areola shape irregularities (1.6 percent). Delayed healing at the junction of vertical and horizontal scars occurred in two of 124 reduction patients (1.6 percent), neither of whom required revision. The overall reoperation rate was 6.5 percent (16 of 246).


This study defines the first steps of a comprehensive process for using objectively defined parameters that surgeons can apply to skin envelope design for mastopexy and breast reduction. The method can be used in conjunction with, or in lieu of, other described methods to determine nipple position.

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