Horizontal or vertical? an evaluation of patient preferences for reduction mammaplasty scars

Amy M. Sprole, Ife Adepoju, Jeffrey Ascherman, Lloyd B. Gayle, Robert T. Grant, Mia Talmor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: In the United States, the inferior pedicle Wise pattern technique of reduction mammaplasty has been well established as a safe and reliable method of reducing breast size while maintaining nipple-areolar vascularity and sensation. Nonetheless, the typical inverted-T scar of the Wise pattern reduction is a consistent source of patient and surgeon dissatisfaction with the operation, which has led to the increased popularity of limited-incision techniques of breast reduction. Objective: In this study, it was our goal to evaluate patient preferences for breast reduction scar location. Methods: A retrospective chart review was undertaken that identified 121 patients who underwent bilateral Wise pattern reduction mammaplasty between July 1999 and June 2004. The patients were asked to rate their satisfaction with the surgery on a 1 to 10 scale and to rate the extent, if any, to which they were bothered by their scars. Those patients who were bothered by their scars were asked to delineate which part of the scar bothered them most-the horizontal component, the vertical component, or the areolar component. A statistical analysis of the results was performed with a standard two-tailed t test and a χ2 analysis. Results: Of the 121 surveys mailed out, 27 surveys were undeliverable. Fifty-seven of the remaining 94 surveys were returned, for a response rate of 61%. Although 49 of the respondents (86%) were highly satisfied with their surgery, 37 patients (65%) indicated dissatisfaction with their scars. Forty-one patients (72%) responded to the question asking which of the scars was most bothersome. Of these 41 respondents, 10 were bothered by all scars equally. Among the remaining 31 patients, 20 (65%) indicated that the horizontal component bothered them most-a statistically significant proportion (P < .001). Twenty-three of 46 patients (50%) who responded to the questions asking which scar they would erase if they were able to do so indicated that they would erase the vertical scar, which was also statistically significant (P < .001). Conclusions: Our survey confirms the widespread satisfaction reported by patients who have undergone Wise pattern breast reduction surgery. However, it also demonstrates that a statistically significant number of patients are bothered by their scars. These results underscore the importance of developing techniques that minimize breast reduction scars and suggest that short-scar options would be welcomed by women considering breast reduction surgery. (Aesthetic Surg J 2007;27:257-262.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-262
Number of pages6
JournalAesthetic Surgery Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007

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