INTRODUCTION: Understanding how to preserve the sensitivity of the nipple-areola complex with different reduction mammaplasty procedures is essential in order to provide better postoperative guidance to patients.
METHOD: Thirty women were selected to undergo reduction mammaplasty and were subsequently evaluated at three different time points: preoperatively, on postoperative day 30, and on postoperative day 180. To assess sensitivity, each areola was divided into four quadrants (P1-P4), with the nipple excluded (P5); therefore, five regions were evaluated. Four sensory tests were performed for each region: superficial touch, temperature (heat and cold), vibration, and pressure.
RESULTS: Compared with the preoperative evaluation, the evaluation performed on postoperative day 30 revealed a significant decrease in sensitivity to vibration in P5, to cold and heat in all regions, and to superficial touch in P3 and P5. On postoperative day 180, a significant decrease in sensitivity to cold was observed in P1, P2, and P5, and to heat in all regions except in P5, when compared with the preoperative period. A significant decrease in sensitivity to pressure in all regions was detected in the preoperative period when compared with postoperative day 30. On postoperative day 180, a significant decrease in sensitivity to pressure was observed in P2, P4, and P5 when compared with the preoperative period.
CONCLUSIONS: Superior medial pedicle reduction mammaplasty decreased the sensitivity of the nipple-areola complex to all sensory tests on postoperative day 30; however, on postoperative day 180, the sensitivity to temperature and pressure returned to normal. The nipple presented a more significant change in sensitivity than did the areolar region.
Keywords: Breast. Hypertrophy. Mammaplasty. Touch perception. Touch.