Pedicle De-epithelialization in Reduction Mammoplasty: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Steven A. Ovadia, Eric Bishop, Yasmina Zoghbi, Renee Gasgarth, Wrood Kassira, Seth R. Thaller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Reduction mammoplasty is among the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures. The reduction pedicle is traditionally de-epithelialized. Many practitioners propose that preservation of the subdermal blood supply results in improved circulation for the nipple-areolar complex. However, this is a time-consuming step of the procedure. Presumed benefits have not been definitively demonstrated. Objective: To evaluate current evidence regarding pedicle de-epithelialization in inferior pedicle reduction mammoplasty. Methods: The MEDLINE database was searched for studies evaluating pedicle de-epithelialization in reduction mammoplasty surgery. Studies reporting outcomes after reduction mammoplasty with pedicle de-epithelialization and deskinning were included. Additionally, reports detailing novel techniques or modification for pedicle de-epithelialization were evaluated and included. Results: One hundred and thirty-eight articles were identified on a systematic review. Thirty-six articles met the study criteria. This includes 23 reporting outcomes after reduction mammoplasty procedures and 13 describing novel techniques for pedicle de-epithelialization. Of the 23 studies reporting outcomes, 6 studies evaluated deskinning of the pedicle. Two of the six studies directly compared deskinning and de-epithelialization. They reported no significant difference in outcomes. The remaining 17 articles described outcomes of inferior pedicle reduction mammoplasty with pedicle de-epithelialization. Studies evaluating deskinning reported ischemic nipple-areolar complex complication rates between 0 and 1.4%. Studies evaluating de-epithelialization reported ischemic nipple-areolar complex complication rates between 0 and 11.1%. Conclusions: Pedicle de-epithelialization is commonly performed despite limited definitive evidence evaluating its surgical necessity or benefits. Available evidence suggests deskinning may yield acceptable results; however, further investigation is necessary. Level of Evidence III: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-111
Number of pages12
JournalAesthetic Plastic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Breast reduction
  • Deskin
  • Pedicle de-epithelialization
  • Reduction mammoplasty
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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