Shaping the breast in aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery: an easy three-step principle. Part III--reconstruction following breast conservative treatment

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009 Jul;124(1):28-38. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181ac7608.


Of the relatively few studies that exist regarding the cosmetic satisfaction of patients following breast conservation therapy, several indicate significant dissatisfaction in many patients. Breast conservation often results in some of the most challenging and complex reconstructive problems. Indeed, even defining the problem or analyzing the defect can be difficult for the junior surgeon. For the more seasoned reconstructive surgeon, analyzing the problem and applying solutions may be less difficult, but clearly communicating the defects typically seen after an aggressive lumpectomy and radiotherapy can be difficult, especially with trainees or junior surgeons. The goal of this article, the third in a four-part series, is to provide a template for the analysis and surgical reconstruction of defects resulting from breast conservation therapy utilizing a systematic three-step method. Part I of this series described the three main anatomical features of the breast--the footprint, the conus of the breast, and the skin envelope--and how they interact. By systematically analyzing the breast with this three-step method, a "problem list" based in specific anatomic traits of the breast can be generated, allowing the surgeon to then generate an appropriate surgical plan for reconstruction. Surgical approaches based on the percentage of breast parenchyma resected are suggested, with a focus on glandular rearrangement, breast reduction techniques, and locoregional flaps. The three-step method of breast analysis, evaluating the anatomical deformation of the breast footprint, conus, and skin envelope, remains the fundamental "fall-back" principle of this approach.

MeSH terms

  • Beauty
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty / methods*
  • Mastectomy / methods
  • Preoperative Care