Background: Although several studies have been published documenting the safety of laser-assisted breast reduction, they have involved only small numbers of patients.
Objective: The authors conducted a retrospective chart review of a series of 367 consecutive patients who underwent inferior pedicle laser-assisted breast reduction surgery at a single outpatient facility from 1995 through 2004.
Methods: All patients received appropriate preoperative intravenous antibiotics and had sequential compression devices placed on their lower extremities before induction of anesthesia. Pedicle deepithelialization was performed using a carbon dioxide laser in continuous mode. Following deepithelialization, an inferior pedicle Wise-pattern breast reduction was performed in standard fashion. In approximately 20% of cases, breast reduction was combined with lipoplasty, facial aesthetic surgery, or abdominoplasty. Minor complications assessed included seroma, hematoma, infection, dog-ear, and incisional wound breakdown. Major complications were defined as >25% nipple/areola necrosis, blood transfusion, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, myocardial infarction, or death.
Results: No major complications were noted in our series. Two patients with infections required short-term hospitalization for administration of intravenous antibiotics. A total of 47 minor complications occurred in 42 patients (11%), including 36 incisional wound breakdowns, 6 infections, 3 hematomas, 1 seroma, and 1 dog-ear revison. The incisional breakdowns included 25 minor T-zone wounds, 2 nipple-areolar complex wounds, and 9 wounds of the vertical and transverse incisions. No inclusion cysts were noted in any patients.
Conclusions: Complication rates for our series of patients who underwent laser-assisted breast reduction surgery were consistent with those reported for non-laser-assisted procedures. These results, combined with the benefits and efficient operating time afforded by laser deepithelialization, indicate that laser-assisted breast reduction surgery can provide an alternative to standard methods of deepithelialization for those surgeons with access to a carbon dioxide laser.