Improved Surgical Outcome with Double Incision and Free Nipple Graft in Gender Confirmation Mastectomy

Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2021 Jul 13;9(7):e3628. doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000003628. eCollection 2021 Jul.


Background: Mastectomy and chest-wall contouring is the most common gender confirmation surgery. With increasing prevalence of transgender individuals, there is a demand for better surgical outcomes and aesthetic results. Our aim was to evaluate surgical techniques used and assess modifications in gender confirmation mastectomies at Karolinska University hospital in Stockholm, Sweden.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed on 464 patients undergoing gender confirmation mastectomies in our department between 2009 and 2018. Patient demographics, psychiatric comorbidity, surgical method, and outcome were analyzed. Follow-up was at least one year.

Results: The most frequently used surgical technique for gender confirmation mastectomies was double incision with free nipple graft (243 patients, 52.4%), followed by periareolar incision (113 patients, 24.4%) and semicircular incision (67 patients, 14.4%). The double incision technique and periareolar technique were associated with 18.9% and 28.3% complications, 3.3% and 12.4% acute reoperations, 28.4% and 65.5% secondary revisions, respectively. The double incision technique increased from being used in 17.8% of all mastectomies during 2009-2013 to 62.9% during 2014-2018, while periareolar incision decreased from 43.0% to 18.5%.

Conclusions: The current study describes a successful transition of surgical technique from periareolar incision to double incision with free nipple graft in gender confirmation mastectomy, leading to significant improvements in the overall outcome with fewer complications, less acute reoperations and less secondary corrections. Hence, we consider the double incision with free nipple graft technique to be the favored technique in the vast majority of cases in female-to-male chest wall contouring.