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Eur J Radiol. 2009 Jun;70(3):549-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2008.02.002. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

The evaluation of breast tissues removed during reductive mammaplasty with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry.

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Division of Human Nutrition, University of Tor Vergata in Rome, Italy.



We conducted a case-control study in which patients were evaluated with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) before and after breast reduction surgery, and results were correlated with the histological examination. Our goal was to confirm the DEXA as a precise technique for the measurement of breast composition, in order to propose it for the preoperative evaluation of plastic surgery patients.


We prospectively recruited all women that underwent reduction mammaplasty and excluded patients with contraindications to the operation or those that previously underwent bariatric surgery to reduce their weight. Patients were evaluated with DEXA 1 week before and after surgery.


From February to October 2006 we recruited 25 patients. The statistical analysis found a significant reduction of weight, BMI, regional fat free mass and fat mass after the operation. The comparison between DEXA and the histological analysis produced a correlation r=0.989 (r(2)=0.978), with a predictivity of 98% and a percentage of error 8.3% (95% confidence intervals -252.6, 273.7; 95% limits of agreements of Bland and Altman -436.0, 457.1). Similar results were obtained with the analysis of fat.


Our study demonstrated that conventional segmental DEXA is a very precise technique to measure the amount of tissue removed in breast reductions and could open future application in the preoperative assessment of patients undergoing such operations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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