Correlation between nipple elevation and breast resection weight: How to preoperatively plan breast reduction

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2015 Aug;68(8):1127-31. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2015.04.007. Epub 2015 Apr 21.


Breast hypertrophy is often associated with functional limitations. Beyond the aesthetic concerns, breast reduction can improve symptoms and self-esteem. In different countries, health-care system regulations have fixed the threshold for reimbursement in 500 g of predicted tissue resection for each breast. Different preoperative measurements have been proposed to predict breast-tissue weight to be removed, showing a variable correlation with post-operative evaluation. We describe a reliable, simple measurement to predict the quantity of breast reduction in grams, which can be applicable to any surgical technique. A total of 128 patients undergoing bilateral breast reduction were evaluated. The correlation between the preoperative nipple-areola complex (NAC) lift distance and the weight of removed breast tissue was tested with linear regression and Pearson's test. Other anthropometric measurements were tested as a control. The ratio between resected grams and lift distance was explored to find a multiplication coefficient to be used at preoperative planning. The mean resection weight was 686.65 g. The mean NAC-lift distance was 7.6 cm. Positive correlation between the NAC-lift distance and the weight of breast tissue removed was found (r: 0.87; p < 0.001). The mean weight of the removed breast tissue (g) per centimetre of NAC lift was 81 g/cm in the group between 6 and 12 cm and 70 g/cm in the group with >12 cm of lift distance. The NAC-lift distance is a single, objective, repeatable measure that can provide a reliable prediction of breast-tissue grams to be removed; it helps in classifying breast-reduction indications.

Keywords: Breast reduction; Breast resection weight; Health-care system; Insurance coverage; NAC lift; Preoperative planning.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Breast / anatomy & histology*
  • Breast / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Mammaplasty / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nipples / surgery*
  • Organ Size
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Young Adult