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Achieving a predictable 24-hour return to normal activities after breast augmentation: part II. Patient preparation, refined surgical techniques, and instrumentation.

  • Tebbetts, John B
Published Article
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer) - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2006
7 Suppl
PMID: 17099488


The goal of this study was to develop practices that would allow patients undergoing subpectoral augmentation to predictably return to full normal activities within 24 hours after the operation, free of postoperative adjuncts. Part I of this study used motion and time study principles to reduce operative times, medication dosages, perioperative morbidity, and recovery times in augmentation mammaplasty. Part II of the study focuses on details of patient education, preoperative planning, instrumentation, and surgical technique modifications that were identified, modified, and implemented to achieve the results reported in part I. Two groups of 16 patients each (groups 1 and 2) were studied retrospectively for comparison to a third group of 627 patients (group 3) studied prospectively. Patients in group 1 had axillary partial retropectoral breast augmentations in 1982-1983, using dissociative anesthesia, blunt instrument implant pocket dissection, and Dow Corning, double-lumen implants containing 20 mg of methylprednisolone and 20 cc of saline in the outer lumen of the implants. Patients in group 2 (1990) had inframammary, retromammary augmentations by using a combination of blunt and electrocautery dissection, Surgitek Replicon polyurethane-covered, silicone gel-filled implants, and general endotracheal anesthesia. Patients in group 3 (1998 to 2001, n = 627) had inframammary partial retropectoral, inframammary retromammary, and axillary partial retropectoral augmentations under general endotracheal anesthesia. Refined practices and surgical techniques from studies of groups 1 and 2 were applied in group 3. Videotapes from operative procedures of groups 1 and 2 were analyzed with macromotion and micromotion study principles, and tables of events were formulated for each move during the operation for all personnel in the operating room. Extensive details of surgical technique were examined and reexamined in 13 different stages by using principles of motion and time studies described in part I of this study to maximize efficiency without any change in quality. Unnecessary or unproductive motions and techniques were progressively eliminated, and essential, productive techniques were streamlined to eliminate wasted time and motion. Instrumentation and surgical techniques were evaluated in detail and modified to minimize bleeding and tissue trauma. Detailed data were presented in part I of this study that document shorter operative times, recovery times, time to discharge home, and time to return to normal activities. This part focuses on the patient education, preoperative planning, instrumentation, and surgical technique changes that were implemented on the basis of the findings in part I of the study. More extensive patient information integrated with staged informed consent resulted in a more in formed and confident patient. Applying motion and time study principles to analysis and refinement of instrumentation and surgical techniques resulted in a substantial reduction in perioperative morbidity and a simpler, shorter 24-hour return to full normal activity for 96 percent of the patients undergoing breast augmentation in group 3 compared with groups 1 and 2. More than 96 percent of patients in group 3 were able to return to normal activities, lift their arms above their heads, lift normal-weight objects, and drive their car within 24 hours after their partial retropectoral breast augmentation. Patient education, preoperative planning, instrumentation, and surgical technique modifications based on motion and time study video analyses reduced surgical trauma and bleeding, reduced perioperative morbidity, and allowed 96 percent of 627 breast augmentation patients in group 3 a predictable return to full, normal activity in 24 hours or less. Specific surgical factors that contributed to these results included (1) prospective hemostasis techniques with a zero tolerance for even the smallest amount of bleeding, (2) strict "no-touch" techniques for periosteum and perichondrium, (3) eliminating all blunt dissection, (4) performing all dissection under direct vision, (5) modified and simplified instrumentation, and (6) optimal use of muscle relaxants during subpectoral dissection.

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