Influence of Flap Thickness on Nipple Projection After Nipple Reconstruction Using a Modified Star Flap

Naohiro Ishii, Jiro Ando, Michiko Harao, Masaru Takemae, Kazuo Kishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In nipple reconstruction, the width, length, and thickness of modified star flaps are concerns for long-term reconstructed nipple projection. However, the flap’s projection has not been analyzed, based on its thickness. The aim of the present study was to investigate how flap thickness in a modified star flap influences the resulting reconstructed nipple and achieves an appropriate flap width in design. Methods: Sixty-three patients who underwent nipple reconstruction using a modified star flap following implant-based breast reconstruction between August 2014 and July 2016 were included in this case-controlled study. The length of laterally diverging flaps was 1.5 times their width. The thickness of each flap was measured using ultrasonography, and the average thickness was defined as the flap thickness. We investigated the correlation between the resulting reconstructed nipple and flap thickness, and the difference of the change in the reconstructed nipple projection after using a thin or thick flap. Results: The average flap thickness was 3.8 ± 1.7 (range 2.5–6.0) mm. There was a significant, linear correlation between the flap thickness and resulting reconstructed nipple projection (β = 0.853, p < 0.01). Furthermore, the difference between the thin and thick flaps in the resulting reconstructed nipple projection was significant (p < 0.01). Conclusion: Measuring the flap thickness preoperatively may allow surgeons to achieve an appropriate flap width; otherwise, alternative methods for higher projection might be used. Level of Evidence IV: 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
Pages (from-to)964-970
Number of pages7
JournalAesthetic Plastic Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 1


  • Breast reconstruction
  • Modified star flap
  • Nipple flap thickness
  • Nipple flap width
  • Nipple projection
  • Nipple reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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