Subcutaneous mastectomy – surgical techniques and complications in 176 women

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Since the 1960's, subcutaneous mastectomy (SCM) and reconstruction with an implant has been used to treat recurrent benign breast tumors and in situ breast carcinomas. It has also been used as a prophylactic operation in women with a high risk of developing breast carcinoma and to achieve symmetry following breast reconstruction. Reports on surgical complications have been discordant. Recent prospective studies have revealed negative psychosocial effects. Therefore, a retrospective analysis of the techniques used and early and late complications in the first 176 SCM performed from 1968 to 1981 was performed. Necrosis of the skin or nipple-areolar complex left persistent scar deformities in most patients. Necrosis over a submuscular implant never led to implant loss, in contrast to several subcutaneous implants. Smoking was associated with an increased frequency of necrosis. Infection of the implant pocket resulted in removal of 75% of the implants. The most common complication was capsular contracture (CC), this was less frequent with submuscular implants — no causative factor was found in this study. Indentation tonometry was found to be a useful means to quantify CC. Although results have improved and complications decreased during the period studied, SCM is still an operation that should be performed only with well defined indications.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Surgery


  • Subcutaneous mastectomy, Complications, Tonometry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-15
JournalEuropean Journal of Plastic Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Publication categoryResearch