Development of the Inframammary Fold and Ptosis in Breast Reconstruction with Textured Tissue Expanders
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Tissue expansion has become the most important method for postmastectomy breast reconstruction. However, well-defined inframammary fold and ptosis are difficult to achieve with this technique. This study was performed to evaluate the inframammary fold and ptosis achieved in breast reconstruction using a textured tissue expander, later replaced by a textured implant. In ten postmastectomy patients, a textured tissue expander was inserted into a submuscular pocket. Every two to three weeks the volume of the expander was increased by about 30%. About three months after the last filling, the expander was removed and replaced with a permanent textured, gel-filled implant. The profile of the reconstructed breast was recorded before and after the tissue expansion, as well as before and after the change of the implant. The results showed that the inframammary fold did not move significantly upwards or downwards during the expansion period when a textured tissue expander was used. Waiting three months after the last inflation of the expander before replacing it with the permanent implant resulted in a more ptotic breast mound. Usually, however, no real ptosis was achieved, meaning that the angle between the lower part of the breast and the lower chest wall was more than 90 degrees. These findings indicate that a textured expander could help create a pronounced inframammary fold, but without ptosis. A three-month waiting period before inserting the permanent implant may improve the development of an inframammary fold.
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