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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2003 Feb;111(2):676-84; discussion 685-7.

Outcome study: periareolar mammaplasty patients' perspective.

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  • 1Rosebank Clinic and the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Residual scars on occasion compromise patient satisfaction with breast reduction procedures. Periareolar breast reduction was proposed to minimize the scarring produced by the operation. This technique was criticized predominantly for producing a breast with low projection, for recurrence of ptosis after surgery, and for widening of the periareolar scar. The purpose of this study was to evaluate patient satisfaction from this technique. In the first branch of the study, 11 patients who had periareolar or circumareolar breast reduction were compared with 13 patients who had vertical scar reduction mammaplasty. The groups were matched for patient's age, size of reduction, and follow-up period. The patients were contacted by phone and requested to comment on four aspects of their operation: breast size, symmetry, quality of scars, and appearance and position of the nipple-areola complex. The replies were converted to numerical values and analyzed statistically. A panel of three women, prospective patients for breast reduction, were presented with standardized five-view before-and-after photographs and requested to score the results using the same criteria. Their responses were analyzed in the same manner. Both phases of the study produced similar results. Breast reduction done through a periareolar scar scored higher than a vertical scar technique. The operation did not differ with respect to shape, symmetry, or nipple-areola shape but did with respect to dissatisfaction with scars, which affected the overall result. This experimental model of assessing results of cosmetic operations is proposed as a tool to assess the patient's rather than the surgeon's perspective of a surgical technique, and it could find application in assessing other cosmetic operations.

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