Factors affecting symmetrization of the contralateral breast: A 7-year unilateral postmastectomy breast reconstruction experience

Maria Stella Leone, Virginia Priano, Simonetta Franchelli, Valeria Puggioni, Domenico Franco Merlo, Matilde Mannucci, Pier Luigi Santi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although a number of studies compare different techniques of breast reconstruction, information documenting the factors that affect breast symmetry after unilateral mastectomy and reconstruction seems to be scarce. A statistical analysis of 606 patients undergoing unilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction performed during a 7 year period was undertaken in an endeavor to identify these factors. Patients were classified according to time of reconstruction, method of reconstruction, type of implant, and mastectomy type. Contralateral procedures included mastopexy, augmentation, and reduction mammaplasty. Delayed reconstruction more frequently required a symmetrization than an immediate reconstruction. The percentage of contralateral procedures was higher for implant reconstructions than for autologous reconstructions, and the type of mastectomy was significantly associated with the symmetrization procedure. The findings showed that non-skin-sparing mastectomy (non-SSM) needed symmetrization surgery more frequently than did SSM procedures. The data suggest a preoperative collaboration and case study between oncologic and plastic surgeons to apply, when possible, SSM with immediate implant breast reconstruction, resulting in fewer symmetrization procedures and the best aesthetic follow-up result. These factors need to be considered when mastectomy and reconstruction are planned in order to optimize the aesthetic result together with the development of breast surgery specialty units.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-451
Number of pages6
JournalAesthetic Plastic Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Breast reconstruction
  • Breast symmetry
  • Skin-sparing mastectomy
  • Symmetrization
  • Unilateral mastectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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