Superior Pedicle Vertical Scar Mammaplasty Surgical Technique

Foad Nahai man honours himself by not displaying all the knowledge he has acquired.

Folk Tradition

Introduction

I first tried the vertical reduction technique to minimize scars but have stayed with it because I saw improved results that hold up over time. It is my preferred method for breast reduction and mastopexy. Vertical scar techniques have not gained popularity in the United States as rapidly as in Europe and South America. The reluctance to abandon the Wise pattern in favor of the vertical reduction has been related to concerns over the safety of the superior pedicle and familiarity, satisfaction, and comfort level with the inferior pedicle and central mound techniques, which enjoy tremendous popularity in the United States. However, over the past few years there has been greater interest in short scar breast surgery in the United States with increasing application of the vertical techniques for reduction and mastopexy.

Patient Selection

In my practice the vertical technique is applied to all reductions and mastopexies regardless of size. I personally do not believe that breast size is a limiting factor; rather I believe that the amount of excess skin, the quality of the skin, the relationship of the skin envelope to the breast tissue, and the distance the nipple has to be moved are far more important factors than breast size alone. The best candidates are those with normal skin elasticity and a skin envelope that adheres to the underlying breast tissue and those with moderately large breasts. Less ideal candidates are those with poor-quality skin, a loose envelope where the skin adheres poorly to the underlying breast tissue, and extreme ptosis or breast hypertrophy.

The original Wise pattern was designed to support and shape the breast through skin excision, the so-called "skin brassiere." Short scar techniques all rely on shaping the breast, draping the skin around the shaped breast, and, finally, removing this excess skin. The final scar in breast reduction and mastopexy should reflect management of this excess skin. Our current concept of skin excision in breast reduction and mastopexy is tridimensional (Fig. 4.1). The periareolar approach is a

Vertical Mastopexy Technique

Fig. 4.1 a-d. The tridimensional concept of skin excision in reduction and mastopexy. a Periareolar skin excision - unidimensional. b Addition of the vertical component - second dimension - bidimensional skin excision. c Addition of an L, J, or short T adds a third dimension or tridimensional skin excision. d The full length of the T incision affords the most complete tridimensional skin excision

Fig. 4.1 a-d. The tridimensional concept of skin excision in reduction and mastopexy. a Periareolar skin excision - unidimensional. b Addition of the vertical component - second dimension - bidimensional skin excision. c Addition of an L, J, or short T adds a third dimension or tridimensional skin excision. d The full length of the T incision affords the most complete tridimensional skin excision unidimensional approach to skin excision that allows skin resection in one plane only. The addition of the vertical component adds a second dimension, and then the short T, L, or J or the full T excision adds the third dimension. Therefore, the periareolar techniques afford skin excision only in the plane of the areola. The vertical approach adds the component along the vertical axis of the breast, and the other techniques add additional skin excision in the inframammary fold or the horizontal plane. With increasing skin excess and decreasing skin quality the amount of skin resection increases, as does the length of the scar.

Surgical Technique

Markings

Step 1. With the patient in an upright standing position the breasts are examined and the vertical axis is drawn. If the breasts are symmetrical with the meridian of the breast in the appropriate position, then the vertical axis is a projection of the meridian of the breast onto the abdominal wall. The distance from the midline will vary from patient to patient and usually is between 9 and 14 cm. If the meridian of one or both breasts has to be changed, then this vertical axis is moved closer or further away from the midline on an individual basis (Fig. 4.2).

Step 2. The new nipple and areola position is marked next. The projection of the inframammary fold onto the anterior surface of the breast is marked. This will indicate the position of the upper border of the new areola and not the nipple itself. With the vertical technique I place the nipple 2 or 3 cm below the projection of the inframammary fold, unlike with other techniques where the nipple is placed exactly at the projection of the inframammary fold onto the anterior surface of the breast (Fig. 4.3).

Step 3. I next mark the preexisting inframammary fold.

Superior Pedicle Breast Reduction

breast

Markings - breast meridian and vertical axis of the

breast

Markings - breast meridian and vertical axis of the

Pimple Like Projections Over Nipple

Fig. 4.3. Markings - projection of the inframammary foldonto the anterior surface of the breast marks the position for the upper border of the new areola

Step 4. The new areola is then marked. I prefer to use a semicircle rather than the Lejour mosque dome. The diameter of this semicircle will vary according to the size of the breast and the distance the nipple and areola will have to move on the superior pedicle. The larger the breast, the wider this new areola design will be, and the longer the superior pedicle, the wider this semicircle will be (Fig. 4.4). Although the markings for the reduced areola may be made now, I prefer to do this on the operating table. A 38-,40-, or 42-mm-diam-eter circle is drawn around the nipple. I use a nipple marker of appropriate size to do this.

Fig. 4.3. Markings - projection of the inframammary foldonto the anterior surface of the breast marks the position for the upper border of the new areola

Step 5. The medial and lateral markings are made next. These markings will determine the amount of breast tissue and usually the extent of the skin to be resected. With the patient facing forward the breast is pushed laterally with one hand and a line projecting the vertical axis is then drawn on the me-

Fig. 4.4. Markings - the new areola

Fig. 4.5. Markings - the medial marking. The breast is displaced laterally, and a projection of the vertical axis onto the breast is the medial marking

Vertical Breast Dissection

of Breast

Fig. 4.6. Markings - the breast is displaced medially and the projection of the vertical axis onto the breast is the lateral marking of Breast

Fig. 4.6. Markings - the breast is displaced medially and the projection of the vertical axis onto the breast is the lateral marking

Superior Medial Pedicle Technique
Fig. 4.7. Markings - the lower markings, always made at least 4 cm above the preexisting inframammary fold
Superior Breast

Fig. 4.8. Completed markings operation

- the patient upright before the

Fig. 4.8. Completed markings operation

- the patient upright before the

Fig. 4.9. The patient lying on the operating table. The lower markings are well above the preexisting inframammary fold
Inframammary Fold

Fig. 4.10. The mammostat in place with the deepithelialization of the superior pedicle completed dial part of the breast representing the medial line (Fig. 4.5). The breast is then displaced medially, and in a similar fashion the lateral line is drawn (Fig. 4.6). These medial and lateral markings not only determine the amount of skin and breast excision, they also determine the size of the skin envelope and the size of the reduced breast. The amount of force applied to the breast while making these marks is therefore most important. The stronger the force, the greater the distance between the two lines and hence the greater the volume of the reduction. These markings are then extended upward to meet the areola markings.

Step 6. The lower marking is then made. This will join the medial and lateral markings at a level at least 4 cm above the preexisting fold (Fig. 4.7). The larger the breast and the larger the reduction, the greater the distance between the lower marking line and the preexisting inframammary fold (Fig. 4.8). It is very important to maintain this distance between the preexisting fold and the lower marking to avoid extension of the vertical scar below the breast and onto the abdomen (Fig. 4.9).

Positioning and Anesthesia

The patient is operated on in a supine position with the arms extended at 70-90° on an arm board. It is essential that the patient lie symmetrically on the operating table with shoulders and arms on each side at the same level. The patient's placement on the operating table should be such that she can easily be brought into the sitting position.

Although these procedures are possible under local anesthesia, especially for small mastopexies and reductions, I prefer general anesthesia for all breast reductions. In addition to the general anesthetic, the medial, lateral, and lower markings are infiltrated with xylocaine 1/2% with epinephrine 1:200,000. No epinephrine is infiltrated around the nipple or the base of the superior pedicle.

Deepithelialization

I always use the mammostat (Fig. 4.10), as it holds the breast very firmly, facilitating epithelialization, and it also reduces bleeding by constricting the base of the breast. I prefer a 10 blade for the deepithelialization, which is performed within the markings starting superiorly and extending 3-4 cm below the reduced areola.

Fig. 4.10. The mammostat in place with the deepithelialization of the superior pedicle completed

Incisions and Resection of Breast Tissue

Step 1. The first step is to make the medial, inferior, and lateral incisions through the skin and subcutaneous tissues. It is often possible to make this incision while the mammostat is still in place.

Step 2. Once the incision has been made, upward traction is placed on the breast and the inferior flap is elevated. Through the lower incision a thin 3- to 4-mm-thick flap is elevated from the lower incision down to the preexisting inframammary fold. Just above the level of the preexisting inframammary fold, this dissection extends onto the pectoralis fascia. I feel it is extremely important not to dissect below the preexisting fold in order to preserve it. This dissection is then extended for a variable distance medially and laterally to facilitate the resection of a small segment of tissue at the base of the medial and lateral pillars (Fig. 4.11).

Step 3. The medial dissection is then performed. The breast is pulled laterally so that the medial incision is in line with the vertical axis of the breast as marked on the abdominal wall (Fig. 4.12). The dissection continues straight through the breast tissue down to the pec-toralis fascia. I prefer to do this with the cutting and coagulating electrocautery in order to minimize blood loss. Once the medial incision has been made, the breast is then pulled medially and the lateral dissection is made with the lateral line of dissection in line with the vertical axis (Fig. 4.13). This dissection also extends to the chest wall and pectoralis fascia. Every attempt should be made not to enter the pectoralis fascia or the muscle itself. This will not only reduce bleeding; it will also significantly reduce postoperative pain.

Superior Pedicle Breast Reduction
Fig. 4.11. The extent of the breast tissue to be resected
Nipple Pain And Retraction
Fig. 4.12. The breast is retracted laterally, and the incision is made through the breast tissue to make the medial pillar

Step 4. With the completion of the medial and lateral dissection the breast tissue is elevated off the pectoralis fascia, leaving the fascia intact. On each side, inferiorly, a small triangular extension of breast tissue is included with the specimen. The dissection is continued from below upward under the existing nipple and up toward the new nipple position. I usually stop this dissection at the projected new nipple position. The bulk of the breast tissue to be resected has now been mobilized.

Step 5. The central and lower breast tissue is now separated from the deepithelialized superior pedicle, usually 2-3 cm below the areola margin (Fig. 4.14). In a short reduction, this dissection is continued at a 90° angle straight down to the chest wall and the specimen resected. With a large reduction and a long superior pedicle, the superior pedicle is thinned distally and the dissection continues upward to the level of the projected nipple and then down to the chest wall. The

Breast Anatomy Dissection
Fig. 4.13. The breast is displaced medially and the dissection made directly through the breast tissue toward the pectoralis to make the lateral pillar
Small Breast Inframammary Fold
Fig. 4.14. The resection has been completed. The retractors are at the base of the medial and lateral pillars, and the resected specimen shows the small triangle of breast tissue resected above the inframammary fold on each side below the pillars

Fig. 4.15. Remaining breast tissue following resection with resected specimen lying on abdominal wall below breast

Superior Pedicle Breast Reduction
Fig. 4.16. Medial and lateral pillars viewed from below

longer the superior pedicle, the thinner it should be. The entire volume of breast tissue to be resected is then removed in one block (Fig. 4.15).

I do not use liposuction to reduce the size of the breast. The liposuction is performed toward the end of the procedure on the lateral chest wall only. Occasionally, and with a long superior pedicle, liposuction may be useful to facilitate nipple-areola inset. At this stage of the operation, I will bring the medial and lateral pillars together with my hand and assess the volume of remaining breast tissue as well as shape and projection (Fig. 4.16). If liposuction of the lateral chest wall and axillary tail is required, at this stage we will infiltrate those areas with a wetting solution. The solution consists of Ringer's lactate and to each liter is

Fig. 4.17. Temporary closure - the skin is brought together with staples, and hash marks are made and numbered to facilitate definitive closure added 250 mg xylocaine and 1 mg epinephrine. The li-posuction is performed after the medial and lateral pillars are approximated.

At this stage, the nipple is brought up into the new areola and stapled in place, and the skin is temporarily closed with staples. The operation is repeated in a similar fashion on the opposite side, and then the patient is placed in a sitting position. If the volume and skin resection are adequate, then the skin margins are marked and a cross hatch is placed at two different lev els to facilitate final closure (Fig. 4.17). If more breast tissue is to be resected or if the skin is redundant and more skin excision is required,the markings are made, the patient is placed recumbent, and the skin resection and/or breast resection is performed as needed. The pectoralis muscle and breast tissue are infiltrated with r

Fig. 4.18. Prior to definitive closure the pectoralis muscle and breast tissue are infiltrated with 10 ml marcaine 1/4% with epi-nephrine

10 ml marcaine 1/4% with epinephrine for postoperative anesthesia and comfort (Fig. 4.18).

Closure

Once I am satisfied that the resection has been adequate and the two breasts are closely symmetrical in shape, size, and projection, the definitive closure is performed. The medial and lateral pillars are brought together according to the cross hatch markings using 2-0 vicryl sutures. Several sutures are used to bring these pillars together. I feel this is a vital step in this procedure as it not only defines the shape and projection of the breast, but it also, I believe, contributes to the longevity of the result (Figs. 4.19,4.20).

A small 7-mm drain is then introduced and placed between the pillars, and the tubing is exteriorized. The drain will stay in for up to 24 h. If needed, at this stage liposuction is performed (Fig. 4.21). Then the nipple and areola are inset and sutured in two layers with buried 5-0 Monocryl sutures and intracuticular 5-0 Monocryl sutures. The vertical incision is closed with 3-0 Monocryl and intracuticular 3-0 Monocryl in two layers.

Fig. 4.19 a-c. Definitive closure. a The nipple is temporarily stapled in position and a suture placed through the upper border of the vertical scar. b The medial and lateral pillars are brought together with a 2-0 Vicryl or PDS suture. c The lower end is closed with a purse-string suture

Fig. 4.19 a-c. Definitive closure. a The nipple is temporarily stapled in position and a suture placed through the upper border of the vertical scar. b The medial and lateral pillars are brought together with a 2-0 Vicryl or PDS suture. c The lower end is closed with a purse-string suture

Superior Medial Pedicle Technique

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Dangers Breast Reduction Surgery

Fig. 4.20. With the initial suture holding up the breast tissue, Fig. 4.21. Prior to closure of the lower end of the vertical scar the medial and lateral pillars are sutured together liposuction of the lateral chest wall and axillary tail is per formed

Fig. 4.20. With the initial suture holding up the breast tissue, Fig. 4.21. Prior to closure of the lower end of the vertical scar the medial and lateral pillars are sutured together liposuction of the lateral chest wall and axillary tail is per formed

Breast Reduction Scarring
Fig. 4.22. The lower end of the vertical scar is thinned, and Fig. 4.23. The purse-string suture has been tied excess skin is excised and prepared for the purse-string suture

Management of the Lower End of the Vertical Scar

Fig. 4.24. The appearance of both breasts at the conclusion of the procedure

One of the most challenging components of the vertical reduction is the management of the excess skin at the lower end of the vertical scar. The choices for closure in this area include undermining the skin edges and the vertical purse string described by Lejour, the modified purse string described by Marconi and Cav-ina, or the short horizontal T described by Marchac.

I do not separate the skin from the underlying breast parenchyma as I believe this increases the risk of delayed wound healing, seroma, and wound disruption. I close the lower end by reducing the amount of excess skin and fat (Fig. 4.22) and then inserting a purse-string suture as described by Marconi and Cavina (Figs. 4.23,4.24).

Fig. 4.25. Pre- and postoperative views, 9 months postop, of a 51-year-old woman who underwent bilateral vertical reduction. Volume of resection 432 g left breast, 388 g right breast, with 300 ml of liposuction
Fig. 4.26. 55-year-old woman with asymmetrical breasts. Postop result at 2years.Volume of resection 500 g right breast, 439 g left breast, with 300 ml of liposuction
Superior Pedicle Breast Reduction
Fig. 4.27. 31-year-old woman with breast ptosis and hypertrophy, 436 g resection right breast, 478 g resection left breast, and 100 cc of liposuction. Postoperative views at 18 months. She underwent minor revision of both areola in the interim

Dressings

The suture lines are taped, and the drains are secured. The purse string at the lower end is not taped, and a piece of nonadhesive gauze is placed on it. Light dressings are applied, and the patient is put in a bra, which she will wear day and night for up to 3 weeks.

accepted by patients who have referred other patients for similar procedures. No operation is complication or trouble free. No operation is free of secondary revision, either! The vertical technique is no exception. I have performed revisions and had complications. These are discussed in a separate chapter.

Postoperative Care

The patient is admitted overnight. The next morning the drains are removed and the patient is discharged. She is to wear the bra day and night for up to 3 weeks. The patient is advised that the breast will be full superiorly and flat below the nipple with perhaps exaggerated projection. The patient is reassured that the shape will gradually change over a few weeks. This will already have been explained to the patient during the preoperative counseling, so she will not be surprised with the immediate postoperative appearance of her breasts.

Conclusions

The vertical technique in my hands has not only reduced scar but improved shape. The breast has significantly more projection and less tendency to "bottom out" over time. It has been extremely well

Tips That Make a Difference

The following is a list of "tips" that in my opinion have made a big difference in improving results, minimizing complications and revisions. ™ In patient selection, size is not the issue. ™ Skin quantity is the issue in patient selection. ™ Mark the new nipple position 2-3 cm lower than other techniques. ™ Mark the upper border of the new areola at the level of the preexisting inframammary fold. ™ Preserve the preexisting inframammary fold. ™ Take out a triangular segment of tissue at the base of each pillar inferiorly. ™ Before closure infiltrate the breast tissue and pec-toralis with a dilute marcaine, 1/4% solution, for patient comfort. ™ Approximate the pillars with sutures. ™ Do not undermine skin flap. ™ Limit liposuction to lateral chest wall.

References

1. Lassus C (1969) Possibilites et limites de la chirurgie plastique de la silhouette feminine. L'Hospital 801:575

2. Lassus C (1970) A technique for breast reduction. Int Surg

53:69

3. Lassus C (1977) New refinements in vertical mammoplasty. In: the 2nd congress of the Asian section of the International Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Society, Tokyo

4. Lassus C (1981) New refinements in vertical mammoplasty. Chir Plast 6:81

5. Lassus C (1987) Breast reduction: evolution of a technique. A single vertical scar.Aesthetic Plast Surg 11:107

6. Lassus C (1996) A 30-year experience with vertical mammoplasty. Plast Reconstr Surg 97:373

7. Lejour M,Abboud M, Declety A, Kertesz P (1990) Reduction des cicatrices de plastie mammaire de l'ancre courte a la verticale.Ann Chir Plast Esthet 35:369

8. Lejour M (1994) Vertical mammoplasty and liposuction of the breast. Quality Medical Publishing, St Louis

9. Lejour M (1994) Vertical mammoplasty and liposuction of the breast. Plast Reconstr Surg 94:100

10. Marchac D, de Olarte G (1982) Reduction mammoplasty and correction of ptosis with a short inframammary scar. Plast Reconstr Surg 69:45

11. Marconi F, Cavina C (1993) Reduction mammoplasty and correction of ptosis: a personal technique. Plast Reconstr Surg 9:1046

12. Nahai F (1999) Vertical reduction. Operative Techniques Plast Reconstr Surg 6:97

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