J Breast Cancer.  2021 Jun;24(3):283-300. 10.4048/jbc.2021.24.e26.

Immediate Reconstruction of Large Ptotic Breasts following Vertical Reduction Pattern Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy

  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Korea University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Division of Breast and Endocrine Surgery, Department of Surgery, Korea University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea


Women with large and/or ptotic breasts are generally not considered candidates for nipple-sparing mastectomy because of concerns regarding the high incidence of postoperative complications including ischemic complications. Therefore, we adopted a vertical skin resection technique for nipple-sparing mastectomy, and obtained satisfactory results following immediate autologous breast reconstruction. In this study, we aimed to describe our operative technique and review its outcomes.
Between January 2010 and March 2017, immediate autologous breast reconstructions were performed in 28 patients with moderate or large ptotic breasts after nipple-sparing mastectomy using the vertical reduction pattern. Grade II ptosis was observed in 12 patients, and 16 patients were classified as having grade III ptosis.
Of the 28 patients, 21 received abdominal free flap reconstruction. In the remaining 7 patients, extended latissimus dorsi flaps were used in conjunction with anatomic implants. The mean weight of the excised breast tissue in the 2 groups was 575 g and 482 g, respectively. Satisfactory esthetic outcomes without major complications were achieved in all patients. Similar vertical reductions or mastopexies in the contralateral breast allowed better postoperative adjustment for symmetry. There was only 1 case of complete nipple necrosis; however, the problem was solved with “skin banking.” No local recurrences or distant metastases were detected at follow-up (mean 18 months, range 4 months to 6 years).
To enhance cosmetic outcomes in patients with large and/or ptotic breasts, the vertical skin resection pattern for nipple-sparing mastectomy can be used to achieve better breast shape while preserving the nipple-areola complex. Moreover, it can improve the esthetic outcome without compromising oncologic safety.


Breast neoplasm; Mastectomy; Reconstructive surgical procedures
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