Background: Single-stage, durable aesthetic contouring of the volume-depleted and ptotic breast remains a challenge for plastic and reconstructive surgeons. These challenges are often even more difficult in the patient who has undergone massive weight loss (MWL).
Objectives: The authors describe their technique of reshaping the breasts of MWL patients with laterally-based breast flaps during a superomedial pedicle breast lift.
Methods: A total of 20 patients were treated in a private clinic by one of the authors between April 2006 and January 2010 were included in this study. Each patient underwent breast reshaping with mastopexy, lateral breast autoaugmentation, and implant insertion. A laterally-based breast flap was developed to augment the involuted and ptotic breast and was dissected in conjunction with the superomedial pedicle breast lift to maintain the implant position, prevent bottoming out, and provide tissue coverage between the skin and breast implant in the advent of wound breakdown.
Results: Mean follow-up for this patient series was 19.5 months (range, two to 47). The average patient age was 41 years (range, 21 to 56), and the majority of patients had Grade 2 ptosis (14 out of 20). The average volume of the implants in this study was 350 cc (range, 275 to 600). There were no instances of seroma or wound infection. Five patients had minor instances of wound breakdown, but none required surgical revision. One patient developed early capsular contracture and required revision. That same patient developed a small hematoma. Patient self-evaluation revealed a high level of satisfaction; all 20 patients reported being happy with their results.
Conclusions: The laterally-based breast flap, in combination with the superomedial pedicle mastopexy, is a powerful tool for use in the postbariatric or postpartum patient in whom the majority of the breast parenchyma is needed to fill the skin envelope. This flap serves to improve overall breast shape by providing added tissue along the deficient inferior pole, relieving some of the unaesthetic lateral chest wall excess and providing an additional layer of support inferiorly along the fold.