Outpatient reduction mammaplasty: an eleven-year experience

Aesthet Surg J. 2008 Mar-Apr;28(2):171-9. doi: 10.1016/j.asj.2008.01.001.


Background: In the last 15 years, reduction mammaplasty has been increasingly performed on an outpatient basis. Despite this evolution, few outcome studies have been published regarding outpatient breast reduction surgery.

Objective: The authors documented clinical outcomes of reduction mammaplasty performed in an outpatient setting over an 11-year period and compared these results with published normative values in the plastic surgery literature.

Methods: A retrospective review was undertaken of 884 reduction mammaplasties in 444 patients at a single outpatient surgical center performed by the senior author (W.G.S.) from 1995 through 2006. In all cases, a laser-assisted, inferior pedicle, Wise pattern, reduction mammaplasty was performed. In addition to demographic and surgical data, complication frequency and type were recorded. Complication data were further stratified into minor and major categories. Potential minor complications included seroma, hematoma, soft tissue infection, dog-ears requiring revision, and small incisional breakdowns or delayed healing of less than 2 cm. Potential major complications included large incisional breakdowns or delayed healing of greater than 2 cm, nipple/areolar necrosis, need for blood transfusion, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, myocardial infarction, and death.

Results: The mean patient age was 38 years (range, 16 to 73 years). Mean body-mass index was 27 (range 17 to 47). The reported preoperative brassiere cup sizes ranged from a 34 C to a 38 K, with a DD being the most common size. The mean preoperative sternal notch-to-nipple distance was 29 cm (range 22 to 54 cm). Forty patients smoked (9%). Mean clinical follow-up was 13 months. Mean total resection weight of breast tissue was 1228 g (range 100 to 5295 g). Mean operative time for reduction mammaplasty was 115 minutes (range 50 to 195 minutes). Nineteen percent of patients underwent multiple procedures, including abdominoplasty, lipoplasty, and facial procedures, with a mean operative time of 132 minutes (range 75 to 345 minutes). The overall complication rate was 14%, with 70 minor complications occurring in 62 patients. Specific minor complications included one seroma, four hematomas, eight soft tissue infections, two of which required a short course of intravenous antibiotics, one patient with dog-ears requiring surgical revision, and 56 small incisional wound breakdowns (< 2 cm). The small incisional breakdowns, which represented the largest group of complications, were further subdivided into 44 minor T-zone wounds, 3 nipple-areolar complex wounds, and 9 wounds of the vertical and horizontal incisions. Three major complications (0.67%) were recorded. Two patients had development of partial nipple/areolar necrosis. A third patient required anticoagulation for a pulmonary embolus diagnosed 10 days after surgery. Statistical analysis of the complication data revealed one significant relationship. Patients with a body mass index above the mean had a 21% complication rate as compared with a 12% rate for those below the mean. Of note, there was no increase in complication rate in the context of multiple procedures.

Conclusions: This retrospective series is the largest to date involving outpatient reduction mammaplasty. Complication data derived from this series are comparable to previously published studies and thus support the safety and efficacy of outpatient reduction mammaplasty performed in an accredited facility.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / surgery*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures*
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Female
  • Hematoma / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Mammaplasty / adverse effects
  • Mammaplasty / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seroma / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult