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Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2009 May;33(3):295-7. doi: 10.1007/s00266-008-9194-y. Epub 2008 Jul 15.

Morphologic study of nipple-areola complex in 600 breasts.

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Department of Breast Surgery, Shizuoka Cancer Center Hospital, 1007 Shimonagakubo, Nagaizumi-cho, Sunto-gun, Shizuoka, 411-8777, Japan.


To investigate the morphologic characteristics of the nipple-areola complex, the diameter of the nipple-areola complex and the height of the nipple in 300 adult women (600 breasts) were measured using micrometer calipers. Furthermore, the morphologic characteristics were classified into four types by visual observation. Mean diameter of the areola was 4.0 cm, mean diameter of the nipple was 1.3 cm, and mean height of the nipple was 0.9 cm. From the morphologic point of view, the elevated plateau type without constriction (IIs) was most commonly found, being present in 60.2% of breasts. Inverted nipples (III) were found in 3.5% and unclassified type (IV) such as multiple or divided nipples was found in 0.3%. Because women have become sensitive about the appearance of their breasts and there is increasing cosmetic interest following surgery for breast carcinoma, operations on the nipple-areola complex are now common. When a surgeon counsels a patient and designs a reconstruction method prior to operation, these data may be helpful.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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