CUSTOM DERMATOLOGY SEARCH:
Limited Breast Reduction by Liposuction
M. S. Kaminer, MDa,c,d, M.-H. Tan, MDa, T.-S. Hsu, MDa, M. Alam, MDa,b
A Brief History of Liposuction
Liposuction is the aesthetic removal of undesirable localized collections of subcutaneous adipose tissue. The procedure was developed in the mid-1970’s by Georgio and Arpard Fischer and advanced with innovative suctioning equipment created by Yves-Gerard Illouz. The technique of tumescent anesthesia introduced by Jeffrey Klein in 1987, significantly improved safety while reducing the complications associated with the procedure. Refinement of liposuction methods has enabled physicians to treat challenging areas such as arms, inner thighs, neck and jowls and more recently the female breast.
Breast Reduction Strategies
Breast reduction by liposuction includes several approaches. Traditional breast reduction surgery may be preceded or followed by moderate volume liposuction. Adjunctive use of liposuction can be useful for thinning pedicles, removing axillary and lateral chest wall fat, contouring the inframammary fold, and adjusting volume to correct asymmetries after conventional bilateral reduction mammoplasty. Alternatively, modest breast hypertrophies can be initially treated by liposuction, with the extent of further excisional mammoplasty dictated by the quantity of residual tissue. This approach is also used to treat congenital asymmetry in adolescents and to correct pseudoptosis. During the last decade, liposuction alone has been used for reducing mild gynecomastia that entails excess breast fatty tissue but near-normal glandular breast tissue. In 1991, Alan Matarasso and Eugene Courtiss1,2 reported that liposuction alone could reduce each treated breast by 75-475cc in patients aged 18 to 60. One to five-year follow-up found no fat reaccumulation or breast reenlargement.
Advantages of Breast Reduction by Liposuction
Breast liposuction can give dramatic results and offer significant advantages over surgical reduction. Unlike traditional approaches, breast liposuction does not require glandular resection and movement of the nippleareola complex on a local pedicle. Thus, the inverted Tshaped scar is avoided, and scars after lipectomy are virtually undetectable if the inframammary/axillary line approach is used. Since there is no cutting of breast tissue, more vessels, nerves, parenchyma and supporting connective tissue are left intact so there is minimal disturbance to sensation and lactation. From the standpoint of the surgeon, no pedicle, flap or dissection is required, and no parenchymal structures are transected. There is a consequent dramatic decrease in reported complications with liposuction alone compared to excisional breast reduction, which can in as many as 50- 60% of patients induce infection, bleeding, hematoma, seroma, wound dehiscence, skin necrosis, hypertrophic scars or keloids, poor breast shape, loss or alteration of sensation, or inability to breast-feed. Since liposuction is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia, postoperative wound care is minimal and recovery time is brief. Maintenance of the architecture of the breast, including neurologic, vascular, and glandular structures, results in preservation of sensation and symmetry.
Is Breast Liposuction Safe?
Critics of liposuction for breast reduction have raised the possibility of interference with mammography.3 Potential problems after liposuction have been proposed to include septal distortion from scarring, increased breast density due to selective extraction of fat, and extensive fat necrosis culminating in microcalcification. While post-liposuction mammograms demonstrate greater tissue density and an increase of parenchymal microcalcification, these postliposuction calcifications are easily and reliably distinguished from malignant calcifications, which are less scattered, less regular, and more numerous.3,4 To further protect the patient, before liposuction, a preoperative mammogram should be obtained. Within six months postoperatively, a repeat study should be done to detect changes due to liposuction alone.
Who Should Get Breast Liposuction?
Certain criteria must be met for successful breast liposuction:1,2
Breast liposuction can provide a diminution of breast size of one to two cup sizes. Patients desirous of greater reduction should be counseled to consider excisional mammoplasty. Before breast liposuction, patients should receive a baseline mammogram. Anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents, such as vitamin E supplements and daily aspirin, should be discontinued a week in advance of the procedure in consultation with the patient’s primary care physician.
How is Breast Liposuction Performed?
Preoperative measurement of breast weight utilizing a digital scale and volumetric measurement using water displacement can help the surgeon decide how much fat to remove and how the total should be distributed between the two breasts to ensure an even result. Multiple, usually two, stab incisions are made in the inframammary crease of each breast with a third incision placed in the anterior axillary line. Tumescent anesthesia is then infused per customary technique.5-6 Infusion is performed throughout the entire breast as well as parallel to the plane of the chest wall. Approximately 600-800cc of tumescent solution is typically required to fill each breast and ensure that the deep portion of the breast adjacent to the chest wall is completely infiltrated. Thirty to forty-five minutes after tumescent infusion is complete, liposuction is initiated with appropriate cannulas, such as the 12-gauge Klein and 12- gauge Capistrano cannulas. Machine suction is performed via standard criss-cross triangulating technique, with fanning from each of the entry sites. Like tumescent fluid infusion, suction is best performed throughout the entire volume of the breast. It is essential that the surgeon continuously palpate and monitor breast size and symmetry during breast liposuction. The non-dominant hand is used to pinch and assess breast volume and contour as liposuction progresses. Superficial suctioning should be avoided, as should aggressive suctioning under the nipple complex. This process of conservatism and continual reevaluation increases the likelihood that breast symmetry and contour is maintained postoperatively. Additionally, many women benefit significantly from thorough, even fat removal from the lower outer quadrant of the breast. Treatment of this area can aid in volume reduction as well as skin retraction and mild breast elevation.
Results and Aftercare
Suction volumes vary, with 250-500cc of fat typically removed from each breast. At the conclusion of suctioning, the surgeon can readily confirm breast size and symmetry by palpating the breast to estimate the residual volume, as well as by comparing volumes of fat removed from each breast during the procedure. Use of a compression binder or support bra after surgery is essential. Continuous use of such a device for the first three months after surgery ensures maximum smoothness and uniformity of the final contour. The initial postoperative compression garment is worn 23 hours/day for the first 7 days, followed by the use of a properly fitted support bra 16-24 hours a day for the next 3 months. More so than with liposuction of other anatomic areas, the cosmetic end result is highly dependent on patient adherence to a strict regimen of garment use, and patients should be apprised of their vital role in this process.
Liposuction for breast reduction in women is an appropriate addition to the array of liposuction procedures available to the dermatologic surgeon. Minimally invasive and sparing of the breast parenchyma, breast liposuction has an excellent safety profile and rapid recovery time. Cosmetically elegant, it provides symmetrical results with barely visible scarring. Minor reductions in breast size in patients with normal shaped breasts will look better after liposuction alone than any other type of breast reduction surgery. Patients requiring change in the overall shape or orientation of the breasts and nipples, elderly patients, and patients requiring highvolume breast reduction should be referred to our plastic surgery colleagues for excisional procedures.7
FDA Strengthens Controls and Issues Consumer Alert on Importing Certain Prescription Drugs
As part of its ongoing efforts to reduce preventable adverse events from the products it regulates, the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) announced in December 2002, that it is strengthening the controls designed to protect patients by restricting imports of certain prescription drugs that can be used safely only with specified controls in place.
In a related action, the US FDA today alerted consumers not to buy these drugs over the internet, because drugs obtained via websites usually are not accompanied by these safety controls. The FDA is concerned about the safety risks posed by use of any of these products without the specified controls in place.
American Academy of Dermatology Stresses the Safe Use of Botulinum Toxin
Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of one form of botulinum toxin, it has been widely reported that patients are attending so called “Botox® parties” for the administration of this drug. Botulinum toxin treatments being performed in casual social settings rather than in a controlled medical environment contradicts the seriousness of this medical procedure.
The AAD encourages all patients to consult with their dermatologist to determine which treatment is best for them. A wellinformed patient and a skilled dermatologist are always the best prescription for a successful outcome.
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Last modified: Friday, 09-Nov-2012 17:10:26 MST