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Exploring natural breast symmetry in the female plastic surgical patient population.

BACKGROUND: Breast symmetry remains a challenging quality to measure. The question arises of how much baseline breast symmetry exists in the female plastic surgical patient population.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Several linear dimensional assessments were collected based on a retrospective analysis of objective data of women with natural breasts, who presented for an initial consultation in a plastic surgical clinic and were measured with the 3D Vectra Camera by the company Canfield Scientific Inc., U.S.A. The first 100 cases were extracted from the large database in alphabetical order. The nipple positions were examined, including the following linear dimensions: distances from the jugulum to the nipple, from the nipple to the inframammary fold, and from the nipple to midline. Furthermore, the under-breast widths were obtained.

RESULTS: The objective three-dimensional imaging method determined that all patients had some degree of asymmetry. The linear distances from the jugulum and midline to the nipple revealed that the measurements were larger on the left side. However, the nipple to the inframammary fold measurements were roughly the same. In the sample of plastic surgical patients, the average distance between the jugulum and nipple was around 20 cm, the distance between the nipple and inframammary fold was around 6.5 cm, the distance between the nipple and midline was around 10 cm, and the under-breast width was around 13 cm. On average, the jugulum-nipple distance on the right side was 19.9±2.3 cm and 20.1±2.4 cm on the left side. The distance between the nipple and the inframammary fold was 6.4±1.1 cm, revealing a similar distribution on both sides. The mean distance from the nipple to the midline was much larger on the left side of the body at 10.0±1.2 cm than on the right side at 9.4±1.3 cm. The under-breast width on the right side was slightly larger than the left side, with measurements of 13.4±1.8 cm versus 13.2±1.7 cm.

CONCLUSION: Breast dimensions can be described comprehensively by an objective three-dimensional imaging process, which can detect asymmetry in all patients. The differences related to the nipple position were larger on the left side than the right regarding the distances from the jugulum and particularly the midline to the nipple, which seems to be of special importance, but not from the nipple to the inframammary fold. The linear measurements for the distances from the jugulum and the midline to the nipple are essential to accurate symmetry assessments and form an aesthetic triangle of the breast, which is a new term and the key to a simplified shape analysis.

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