SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 
vol.27 issue1Modification of the mastopexy technique described by LongacrePharmacologic and intermittent pneumatic compression thromboembolic prophylaxis in 563 consecutives abdominoplasty cases author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand

Article

Indicators

Related links

  • Have no similar articlesSimilars in SciELO

Share


Revista Brasileira de Cirurgia Plástica

Print version ISSN 1983-5175

Rev. Bras. Cir. Plást. vol.27 no.1 São Paulo Jan./Mar. 2012

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1983-51752012000100012 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

 

Changes in nipple-areola complex sensitivity after mammaplasty using the cross flap technique

 

 

Thaís HelenaI ; Antoniete FernandesI; José OctávioII; Gonçalves De FreitasII; Aymar Edison SperliIII

ISpecialist in General Surgery, Specialist in Plastic Surgery of the Sociedade Brasileira de Cirurgia Plástica (Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery) – SBCP, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
IIMember of SBCP, Head of the Serviços Integrados de Cirurgia Plástica do Hospital Ipiranga (Integrated Plastic Surgery Services of Hospital Ipiranga), São Paulo, SP, Brazil
IIIMember of SBCP, Regent of the Serviços Integrados de Cirurgia Plástica do Hospital Ipiranga (Integrated Plastic Surgery Services of Hospital Ipiranga), São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Correspondence

 

 


ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Although several types of reduction mammaplasty have been described in the literature, there are few studies addressing the post-operative changes in nipple-areola complex (NAC) sensitivity. The present study analyzed the changes in NAC sensitivity after mammaplasties performed using the cross flap technique (Sperli's technique).
METHODS:
A descriptive, analytical, and retrospective study was conducted including 14 women between 20 and 60 years of age who underwent reduction mammaplasty with the cross flap technique. The patients had grades I, II, and III breast ptosis without hypertrophy or with small to medium hypertrophies.
RESULTS: In a subjective sensitivity and nipple contraction analysis, 12 (85.7%) patients reported a total return of NAC sensitivity 6 months after surgery. One year after surgery, all patients reported the return of sensitivity and nipple contraction with various degrees of intensity.
CONCLUSIONS: The cross flap technique is a viable option for reduction mammaplasty as it provides good aesthetic and functional results and the restoration of sensitivity to the breast in 100% of the cases.

Keywords: Mammaplasty. Breast/surgery. Surgical flaps. Perception.


 

 

INTRODUCTION

Reduction mammaplasty is performed to correct functional alterations and/or the unsightly appearance of voluminous breasts or those presenting with ptosis. The purpose of surgery is to reduce breast size while maintaining symmetry and preventing complications1. Some of the main complica­tions of reduction mammaplasty are the reduction in nipple-areola complex (NAC) sensitivity, unsightly scars, and postoperative mastodynia2,3. One of the main difficulties associated with reduction mammaplasties for large breasts is the maintenance of the vascularization of the NAC.

Current surgical techniques result in scars that can be "L" shaped, inverted "T" shaped, vertical, and periareolar. Vascular pedicles can be upper, superomedial, superolateral, lower, central, a combination of these, or none of these during the NAC grafting procedure2,4.

The cross flap technique described by Sperli5-8 in 1972 is aimed at reestablishing the relationship between the content and continent of the breast, and providing harmony to the mammary cones. The complications associated with the cross flap technique are similar to those observed with other surgical techniques for breast reduction and ptosis correction.

In the present study, the changes in NAC sensitivity caused by mammaplasties performed using the cross flap technique are assessed.

 

METHODS

The present descriptive, analytical, and retrospective study was conducted at the Integrated Plastic Surgery Services of Hospital Ipiranga, in São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

A total of 14 women between 20 and 60 years of age who underwent reduction mammaplasty with the cross flap technique in 2010 were included in the study.

The patients had grades I, II, and III breast ptosis without hypertrophy or with small to medium hypertrophies.

NAC Sensitivity Assessment

Tactile sensitivity tests were performed 6 months and 1 year after reduction mammaplasty. In addition, self reported information on NAC sensitivity in response to a stimulus was also considered in the analysis

The subjective analysis of NAC sensitivity and contractility was followed by two tests. In the first test, protopathic tactile sensitivity was assessed by sliding gauze over the NAC, while specific sensitivity was examined in the second test, which was based on stimulation with insulin needles.

 

RESULTS

The results of the subjective analysis of sensitivity and nipple contraction in patients who underwent cross flap mammaplasty obtained 6 months and 1 year after surgery are shown in Tables 1 and 2.

 

 

 

Six months after the surgery, 12 (85.7%) patients reported a complete recovery of NAC sensitivity. One year after surgery, all patients reported a recovery of nipple sensitivity and contractility, although with different degrees of intensity.

All patients reported a positive response to NAC stimulation with gauze 6 months and 1 year after surgery. The results of the assessment of specific sensitivity differed among patients, although the responses were similar on both sides: 8 (57.1%) patients reported the return of sensitivity first in the left NAC, and 6 (42.9%) in the right. With respect to breast quadrants, 9 (64.3%) patients felt the stimulus equally in the 4 quadrants, 3 (21.4%) reported reduced sensation in the left upper quadrant, which was present on the right side in 2 (14.3%) patients 6 months after surgery. All patients reported a recovery of specific sensitivity in the 4 quadrants 1 year after surgery.

 

DISCUSSION

Reduction mammaplasty is one of the most commonly performed procedures in plastic surgery2,3,7. In the selection of a surgical procedure, the safety of the method is an important consideration1.

There are several reduction mammaplasty techniques currently available that are mainly focused on the preservation of NAC vascularization. Certain techniques consider the two transverse pedicles, such as the technique described by Pitanguy et al.9, or the vertical pedicle, as in the technique of McKissoc. Techniques based on the lateral pedicle include the technique of Skoog, whereas techniques based on the lateral pedicle have been described by several authors. Notably, the decortication of the pedicle for the preservation of the subdermal plexus is important in all surgical mammaplasty techniques.

The NAC is innervated by sensory branches that originate from intercostal nerves. The areola is laterally innervated by the lateral cutaneous branches of the III, IV, V, and VI intercostal nerves10. The anterior lateral branch of the cutaneous branch of the IV intercostal nerve passes through the mammary tissue extending from the base of the breast directly to the NAC10. The erogenous sensitivity is provided by the sympathetic nerve fibers originating from the second to the sixth thoracic paravertebral ganglia that innervate the smooth muscle under the nipple11.

Schwartzman10 first reported the importance of the dermal vascular network for NAC nourishment. Since then, several authors have developed upper, lateral, and lower dermal pedicles for the NAC in reduction mammaplasties. A well nourished NAC is less likely to undergo necrosis and total loss of sensitivity.

NAC necrosis is described in the literature with a frequency of 85% to 90% in cases of gigantomastia, and grafting is often required for reconstruction1.

In protopathic sensitivity, which is the most primitive and diffuse type of sensory response, patients respond to painful cutaneous stimuli, heat, and cold, although the specific localization or type of stimulus cannot be determined with accuracy. It is the first type of sensitivity that appears after regeneration of a sectioned sensory-cutaneous nerve.

Specific sensitivity, which is associated with the accurate localization and discrimination of stimuli, appears later in cases of nerve regeneration and covers tactile and thermal sensitivities.

In the present study, the recovery of protopathic sensi­tivity was observed 6 months after reduction mammaplasty, while recovery of specific sensitivity was only partly observed at 6 months and was complete 1 year after surgery in all patients.

It is important to highlight that, in some patients, the return of sensitivity in the upper quadrants was not observed until 6 months after surgery.

 

CONCLUSIONS

Mammaplasty using the cross flap technique is a good treatment option for the plastic surgeon as it provides excellent aesthetic and functional results with complete recovery of NAC sensitivity.

 

REFERENCES

1. Pacheco LMS, Pacheco AT, Batista KT. Mamoplastia redutora com pedículo medial: modificação na técnica de Skoog. Rev Bras Cir Plást. 2011;24(3):321-7.         [ Links ]

2. Bostwick J. Plastic and reconstructive breast surgery. St Louis: Quality Medical Publishing; 1990.         [ Links ]

3. Arie G. Una nueva técnica de mastoplastia. Rev Latinoam Cir Plast. 1957;3:23-31.         [ Links ]

4. Skoog T. Atlas de cirurgia plástica. Barcelona: Salvat; 1976. p. 332-80.         [ Links ]

5. Sperli A E. Reduction mammaplasty under cross-flaps. In: I International Congress of the Aesthetic Surgery - 1972. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.         [ Links ]

6. Sperli AE. Mastoplastias redutoras pela técnica de retalhos cruzados. In: IV Congresso Argentino de Cirurgia Estética - 1975. Buenos Aires, Argentina.         [ Links ]

7. Sperli AE. Mastoplastias estéticas en las ptosis: el limite entre el uso de las siliconas y las mastopexias. Rev Arg C Estética. 1977;2(2):93-8.         [ Links ]

8. Sperli AE. Mammaplasty utilizing the crossed flap technique: a critical analysis of 23 years experience. Rev Soc Bras Cir Plást. 1994; 9(2):34-44.         [ Links ]

9. Pitanguy I, Salgado F, Radwansky HN. Reduções mamárias: técnicas pessoais sem descolamento cutâneo. In: Mélega JM, ed. Cirurgia plástica: fundamentos e arte. Vol. III. Cirurgia estética. Rio de Janeiro: Médica e Científica; 2003. p. 477-84.         [ Links ]

10. Schwartzman E. Die technik der mammaplastick. Chirurgie. 1930;2:932-43.         [ Links ]

11. Strömbeck JO. Mammaplasty. In: Grabb W, Smith JW, eds. Plastic surgery. 5th ed. Washington: Library of Congress; 1997. p. 726-8.         [ Links ]

 

 

Correspondence to:
Thaís Helena A. Fernandes
Rua Cajaíba, 535 – Vila Pompeia – São Paulo, SP, Brazil – CEP 05025-000
E-mail: thais.antoniete@hotmail.com

Article received: November 28, 2011
Article accepted: February 2, 2012

 

 

Study conducted at the Serviços Integrados de Cirurgia Plástica do Hospital Ipiranga (Integrated Plastic Surgery Services of Hospital Ipiranga), São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
Submitted to SGP (Sistema de Gestão de Publicações/Manager Publications System) of RBCP (Revista Brasileira de Cirurgia Plástica/Brazilian Journal of Plastic Surgery).