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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 114

Archimedes' principle for the correction of breast asymmetry

Department of surgery, New Cross hospital Wolverhampton, WV10 0QP, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Simon Janes
Department of surgery, New Cross hospital Wolverhampton, WV10 0QP
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.16713

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How to cite this article:
Janes S. Archimedes' principle for the correction of breast asymmetry. J Can Res Ther 2005;1:114

How to cite this URL:
Janes S. Archimedes' principle for the correction of breast asymmetry. J Can Res Ther [serial online] 2005 [cited 2022 Nov 29];1:114. Available from: https://www.cancerjournal.net/text.asp?2005/1/2/114/16713


Breast asymmetry is a common occurrence following surgery for breast cancer. Discrepancies can be rectified by reduction of the larger breast, augmentation of the smaller breast, or a combination of both. However, assessment of breast volume prior to reconstructive surgery is an inexact science, prone to human error.

We describe a simple method that provides measurable, objective data that has enabled us to ensure symmetry in a large number of patients.

The patient is given a range of silicone prostheses, to fit inside a full-cup non-wired bra [Figure - 1]. Prostheses are exchanged until satisfactory symmetry is achieved from all angles. The prosthesis is immersed in a graduated two litre measuring jug, filled with water to one litre [Figure - 2]. The displaced volume, representing the volume deficit between the two breasts, is recorded.

This value can be used to size implants, or as an intraoperative guide for reduction mammoplasty: tissue excised is placed in the jug as before, until the displaced volume equals the previously recorded volume deficit.

Several methods of breast volume assessment have been described, from simple anatomical measurements[1] to computer-aided biostereometrical analysis[2] and thermoplastic modelling[3]. However, most reported methods tend to be either inaccurate, expensive or time consuming. Previous applications of Archimedes principle have tended to be cumbersome[4] or inaccurate [Figure - 3]. We have found our method to be an accurate, acceptable, affordable and reproducible method of assessing breast volume deficit during surgery for breast cancer. The technique has been used with great success and satisfaction for more than 95% of our patients.

 > References Top

1.Smith DJ, Palin WE, Katch VL, Bennett JE. Breast volume measurements: Normal values. Plast Reconstr Surg 1986;78:331-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Loughry CW, Sheffer DB, Price TE, Lackney MJ, Bartfai RG, Morek WM. Breast volume measurement of 248 women using biostereometric analysis. Plast Reconstr Surg 1987;80:553-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Bulstrode N, Bellamy E, Shrotria S. Breast volume assessment: comparing five different techniques. Breast 2001;10:117-23.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Schultz RC, Dolezal RF, Nolan J. Further applications of Archimedes' pricinple in the correction of asymmetrical breasts. Ann Plast Surg 1986;17:98-101.  Back to cited text no. 4


  [Figure - 1], [Figure - 2], [Figure - 3]

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