Spontaneous breast enlargement following liposuction of the abdominal wall: Does a link exist?

Berend van der Lei*, Gert-Jan Halbesma, Christianne A. van Nieuwenhoven, Jan J. van Wingerden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A retrospective study was undertaken to determine the specific incidence of breast enlargement following liposuction of the abdomen (alone or in combination with the flanks), and to compare its effect with a control group of patients who had undergone abdominoplasty only and, where possible, identify corresponding variables.

Methods: Forty-eight of 84 patients (57 percent) who had undergone a tumescent liposuction procedure of at least the abdominal wall and/or flanks and 53 of 104 patients (51 percent) who had undergone abdominoplasty met the entry criteria and formed the study group and the control group, respectively. The medical records were reviewed retrospectively, patient interviews were conducted and, where possible, the patients were examined. Patients who had undergone previous breast or abdominal wall surgery or who had a history of or were breast-feeding at the time of the study were excluded.

Results: In the liposuction group, 23 of the 48 patients (48 percent) reported an increase in their breast size postoperatively. This could objectively be confirmed (by an actual increase of at least one bra cup size) in 19 patients (40 percent). Nine of 19 responders (47 percent) presented with a weight gain of as little as 4 percent of body mass index following liposuction, whereas this was observed in only one of 29 of the nonresponder group (3 percent) (p <0.0001). In the abdominoplasty group, 11 patients (21 percent) claimed to have perceived an increase in breast size, which was objectively confirmed by an increase in bra cup size in six (11 percent) only. Four of the six responders (with an increased cup size) reported a weight gain from as little as 4 percent of body mass index, compared with nine of the remaining 47 patients (19 percent) comprising the nonresponder group (p <0.01).

Conclusions: Liposuction of the abdominal wall and/or flanks is followed by breast enlargement in a significant number of patients (40 percent), a risk that is significantly higher when compared with patients who have undergone abdominoplasty only. Patients should be informed about the possibility and risk of breast enlargement following liposuction of the abdominal wall in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1584-1589
Number of pages6
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 15-Apr-2007



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