Treatment of unilateral giant fibroadenoma by breast reduction skin incision: The inverted “T” technique

  • JU Achebe
  • GE Njeze
  • OR Okwesili
Keywords: Breast reduction, giant fibroadenoma, inverted “T” technique


Background: Giant fibroadenoma (GFA) has been defined as fibroadenoma greater than 5 cm in it’s the widest diameter and/or weighing more than 500 g. A benign lesion, its size also raises the possibility of malignancy requiring differentiation from a malignant breast disease. When unilateral GFA presents with a severe breast asymmetry, due to its size, it is not correctable by simple enucleation alone. Postoperative asymmetry from volume and ptosis disparity results, which needs to be addressed at the primary surgery. The inverted “T” technique, which is effective in volume reduction and ptosis correction in breast hypertrophy, can be applied in the treatment of unilateral GFA.
Aim: This is a retrospective review of all GFA treated by inverted “T” method.
Materials and Methods: A retrospective review was carried out on all patients with GFA treated by inverted “T” skin pattern method over a period of 20 years (January 1988 to December 2007). The procedures were carried out at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital and the National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu. Information, which included patients’ demographics, pre‑operative assessment, operative findings and outcome of surgery were obtained from the case files of the patients. The degree of ptosis was recorded for each patient. Diagnosis of GFA was made after clinical evaluation and pre‑operative tissue biopsy. Immediate results of treatment were based on the patients’ satisfaction, visual assessment of symmetry of size of breasts, correction of ptosis and position of nipple areola complex (NAC).
Results: Atotal of 27 patients underwent inverted “T” technique for excision of GFA in their breasts. Their average age was 17.5 years (range 12‑25 years) delay in presentation ranged from 2 months to 15 months. In 16 patients (59.2%), the left breast was involved in GFA whilst the tumor occurred on the right breast in 11 (40.7%). The tumor weighed on the average 1500 g (range 655‑2200 g). Average diameter of the tumor was 15 cm (range 12‑20 cm). All quadrants of the breasts were involved at presentation. The inferior glandular pedicle bearing the NAC was used in all patients. The length of the pedicle ranged from 8 cm to 14 cm whilst the width ranged from 6 cm to 8 cm. Lactation was reported by three patients who went on to successfully breast feed. Complications were minimal. Most were minor wound healing problems and minor breast asymmetry. Epidermolysis in 2, hypertrophic scar in 6,minor breast asymmetry in 3 and delayed healing at the “T” junction in the inframammary fold in 4 were the common complications. All patients were satisfied with the result obtained.
Conclusion: In GFA with a significant breast asymmetry, excision through inverted “T” technique was successful in achieving postoperative symmetry with the opposite breast in these patients. Complications were minimal.

Key words: Breast reduction, giant fibroadenoma, inverted “T” technique


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eISSN: 1119-3077