Improving the longevity and results of mastopexy and breast reduction procedures : reconstructing an internal breast support system with biocompatible mesh to replace the supporting function of the ligamentous suspension
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Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.
The reasons for recurrent ptosis in mastopexy and breast reduction procedures are twofold. First, available surgical techniques do not reconstruct the normal breast anatomy responsible for maintaining breast shape. Second, in many instances the techniques rely on atrophied tissue to provide long-term support. The discovery in 1997 of the ligamentous suspension (the supporting system of the breast) gave rise to the concept that reconstruction of this anatomical structure was needed to ensure a sustained postoperative result. Applying the latest knowledge regarding the structural and vascular anatomy of the breast in the surgical technique and utilizing material other than atrophied breast tissue enabled us to prevent the recurrence of breast ptosis. Methods A surgical technique was developed to replace the supportive function of a failed ligamentous suspension in 112 patients with ptotic breasts. This was done by reconstructing an internal breast-supporting system (IBSS) with biocompatible mesh. Results Satisfactory breast shape, nipple projection, and upper breast fullness was obtained with this technique in mastopexy patients with moderate-sized ptotic breasts. In patients with larger breasts good results were obtained with a simultaneous breast reduction. The longest follow-up is 6 years 3 months. Conclusions With this technique recurrent breast ptosis can be prevented in mastopexy and breast reduction procedures. The results are such that it eliminates the need for silicone prostheses to obtain satisfactory upper-breast fullness. The surgical technique is especially indicated in patients with skin of poor quality or patients with high expectations.