Background: The authors propose a combined flap technique to reconstruct large and medium-sized ptotic breasts in a single-stage operation by use of anatomical permanent implants.
Methods: The authors enrolled 28 patients fulfilling criteria for skin-sparing mastectomy and presenting with ptotic breasts whose areola-to-inframammary fold distance was more than 8 cm. All reconstructions were performed as a single-stage procedure. After preoperative planning, a large area in the lower half of the breast was deepithelialized according to the conventional Wise pattern. Mastectomy was then carried out. To perform reconstructions, the inferomedial fibers of the pectoralis major muscle were dissected and sutured to the superior border of the inferior dermal flap. An anatomical implant was then inserted into the pouch, which was closed laterally with the previously harvested serratus anterior fascia. Skin flaps were finally closed down to the inframammary fold.
Results: The authors performed 30 procedures on 28 patients. The medium size anatomical implants was 433 cc. Twelve women achieved symmetrization in a single stage ending in a symmetric inverted-T scar. The overall complication rate was 20 percent, with four cases (13 percent) complicated by severe, extensive necrosis of the skin flaps requiring implant removal.
Conclusions: Breast cancer treatment must nowadays optimize cosmetic results. This can be accomplished in selected cases by means of a single-stage operation that the authors call "skin-reducing mastectomy." The final scars imitate those of cosmetic surgery. Careful patient selection and improvement in the learning curve may reduce the complication rate.