Re-Evaluating Lipoplasty-Only Breast Reduction

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The author still performs lipoplasty-only breast reduction in 85% of patients, but he now offers all patients a vertical mastopexy
performed in the same session rather than the possibility of a 2-stage procedure. Further refinements to the patient evaluation
process include the use of preoperative mammograms to assess breast fat volume and consideration of conventional breast reduction
in several specific patient subsets. (Aesthetic Surg j 2006;26:72-75.)

In 2001, after 4 years of performing breast reductions using my lipoplasty-only technique, I published my technique and results in
Aesthetic Surgery journal.’ During that period, I was using lipoplasty-only exclusively in all patients who requested breast
reduction. Since that report, I have performed an additional 276 procedures and, as a result, have somewhat modified my approach.
Here, after performing a total of 751 breast reductions, I report on my modifications.

Since 1997, when I first presented this technique, lipoplasty-only breast reduction has continued to gain acceptance. In addition
to my own reporting on this technique, others have also demonstrated its effectiveness and safety. In my practice, currently, 85%
of breast reductions are performed using the lipoplasty-only technique. The average volume removal is 800 cc per breast, with a
range of 75 to 4200 cc of pure fat.

Until 2 years ago, I offered all of my patients a secondary mastopexy procedure in the event that they were unhappy with the
amount of residual breast ptosis, but only 7 patients requested a secondary procedure. (Another 2 patients, young women with
inadequate volume reduction, underwent conventional breast reduction subsequent to the lipoplasty-only procedure.) After some
time, I began to realize that some women declined lipoplasty reductions and did not schedule surgery because they were concerned
that by undergoing lipoplasty-only, they would be left with residual ptosis, and they did not want to return for an additional
operation. Based on this observation, I began offering the option of a vertical mastopexy performed in the same session with the
lipoplasty reduction, and in some cases, I simply recommend a conventional breast reduction in lieu of the lipoplasty-only

I have made a number of changes in my methods of preoperative evaluation. In the past, I required a mammogram in patients older
than 40 solely because I wanted them screened for breast masses. However, after viewing several hundred mammograms, it became
apparent that mammograms provide a useful tool for estimating postoperative volume by revealing the breast fat content. I now
ask for mammograms in all thin patients. Also, I have been treating an increased number of patients with massive weight loss and
find mammograms helpful in assessing the optimal approach in this population.

Although most patients have sufficient fat for at least a 1-bra-cup reduction with lipoplasty, I have found that about 10% have
breast tissue that is too dense. For these patients, I recommend a conventional reduction. In addition, I will typically offer a
conventional reduction to patients who wish to be reduced more than 1 bra-cup size.

A patient who is planning to have excisions in other anatomical areas and is more accepting of scars may be perfectly happy
choosing a conventional breast reduction. If there is minimal breast tissue with marked excess skin, such as in some patients
with massive weight loss, I do not perform a lipoplasty-only reduction; a conventional reduction will provide a much better

My approach to correcting breast asymmetry has also changed. I am utilizing lipoplasty-only procedures more frequently to
address this problem. Many patients choose a unilateral lipoplasty reduction, rather than undergoing augmentation, to avoid the
risks of capsular contracture or implant failure.

To summarize, since my last report in Aesthetic Surgery Journal,’ I have modified my approach in the following ways:

• While still performing approximately 85% lipoplasty-only procedures, I now discuss with my patients the possibility of a
vertical mastopexy performed in the same session, rather than suggesting that a 2stage procedure may be necessary.
• I frequently use mammograms as part of the evaluation process to help assess breast fat volume.
• I may elect to perform conventional reductions if the patient desires more than a 1-bra-cup size reduction, has very dense
breast tissue, is having other excisional contouring surgery, or has minimal breast tissue with significant excess skin.
• I increasingly use a unilateral lipoplasty procedure to correct breast asymmetry, allowing patients to avoid the possible
complications of augmentation surgery.

There has been no change in my technique for performing lipoplasty-only breast reduction. I do not use ultrasound-assisted
lipoplasty (UAL) in the breast.

In performing a vertical mastopexy with a lipoplasty reduction, you can anticipate a 3-cm improvement in nipple position when you mark the patient compared with a
5-cm improvement using lipoplasty-only. Because of the skin excision, there is less contraction. After the infiltration it is easy to deepithelialize. Follow deepithelialization with the lipoplasty reduction. Do not undermine.

Place a 2-0 supramid suture in the dermis, medial to the excision, and tighten it to the proposed areolar diameter. Perform the
remaining dermal repair with Vicryl or Monocryl (Ethicon Inc., Sommerville, NJ). Close the skin with 5-0 nylon. Postoperatively,
I treat patients undergoing vertical mastopexy with lipoplasty reduction in the same manner as patients who have undergone a
lipoplasty-only procedure. I change dressings as necessary. Patients use antibiotic ointment on the incisions until the sutures
are removed after 5 days. I do not allow strenuous activity for 1 week after surgery.

Since I stopped exclusively performing lipoplasty-only breast reductions, I have performed conventional reductions in 5% of
patients and lipoplasty with vertical mastopexies in 10% of patients. Because there is no undermining or flaps, there has been no
dehiscence, nipple necrosis, or numbness. During the past 2 years, I have had only one complication, an infection that responded
to antibiotics. I continue to perform lipoplasty-only reductions in 85% of patients. Even though the vertical mastopexy has been
a safe and effective procedure, most patients would rather avoid the additional scarring. Most patients are pleased to eliminate
symptoms and are not overly concerned with ideal nipple position.