Main Article Content
breast volume, water displacement, 3D laser scan, breast hypertrophy, breast reduction
Background: The accurate determination of intact breast volume facilitates preoperative planning for a range of plastic surgical breast procedures. In women with breast hypertrophy, volumetric assessment assists in planning the amount of tissue to be removed during breast reduction surgery to achieve breast symmetry. Further, in jurisdictions where restrictive surgical guidelines exist, measurement of intact breast volume is essential in order to justify breast reduction surgery. Not all practitioners have access to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or three dimensional (3D) laser scanning facilities, so the purpose of this study was to determine whether water displacement of the intact breast is an effective substitute method of measurement in women with breast hypertrophy.
Methods: A prospective cohort study was undertaken to measure breast volume using water displacement and 3D laser scanning in breast hypertrophy patients. The volume of a total of 322 breasts were determined using both measurement techniques; 194 preoperatively and 128 at 12 months following breast reduction surgery. Pearson correlations, linear regression and Bland-Altman analyses were used to compare the methods of breast volume assessment.
Results: The mean breast volume according to 3D laser scan was 1440 millilitres (SD = 588 millilitres) and for water displacement was 1419 millilitres (SD = 811 millilitres). There was a strong linear association between breast volumes as measured using water displacement and 3D laser scanning using a Pearson correlation (r = 0.89, p < 0.001). However, using the Bland-Altman analysis, the two methods were found not to be in agreement, with water displacement values consistently larger than 3D scan values.
Conclusions: While a strong linear association was found between breast volume measurements made using the water displacement technique and 3D laser scanning, the two methods did not have a high level of equivalence. Water displacement of the intact breast is not an accurate enough tool to be used as a substitute for 3D laser scanning, and therefore not an optimal method of breast volume measurement in women with breast hypertrophy.
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