Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Mastectomy Approach With Y-Shaped Incision: A Technique Designed for Women With Obesity
  1. Bartlomiej Szynglarewicz, MD, PhD*,
  2. Rafal Matkowski, MD, PhD*,,
  3. Piotr Kasprzak, MD, PhD,
  4. Agnieszka Halon, MD, PhD§,
  5. Jolanta Szelachowska, MD, PhD,
  6. Jozef Forgacz, MD, PhD*,
  7. Marek Pudelko, MD, PhD* and
  8. Jan Kornafel, MD, PhD
  1. *2nd Department of Surgical Oncology, Lower Silesian Oncology Center;
  2. Department of Oncology, Wroclaw Medical University;
  3. Breast Imaging and Minimal-Invasive Biopsy Service, Lower Silesian Oncology Center; and
  4. §Department of Pathomorphology, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Rafal Matkowski, MD, PhD, Department of Gynecological Oncology, Wroclaw Medical University, Lower Silesian Oncology Center, Plac Hirszfelda 12, 53-413 Wroclaw, Poland. E-mail: matkowski.r{at}


Objective: To evaluate the access to axilla, postoperative complications, and cosmetic results of the modified radical mastectomy with a Y-shaped approach especially designed for women with obesity.

Methods: One hundred seventeen consecutive women with obesity with infiltrating breast cancer were studied. All of them were not eligible for breast-conserving therapy and underwent modified radical mastectomy. Operation was performed using a surgical technique designed to improve the axillary clearance and to eliminate the lateral dog ear deformity. Two oblique incisions were added to the traditional transverse Stewart incision at the lateral part forming the Y-shaped approach. After lateral flap retraction, the axillary dissection was done. Before closing the wound, the triangular flap was advanced medially, whereas superior and inferior areas of redundant skin overlying the latissimus dorsi muscle were excised.

Results: No intraoperative complications were observed. In each case, the axillary dissection (with level 3 node clearance when needed) was performed with ease. The wound was healed by primary adhesion, giving an excellent cosmetic result without lateral dog ear deformity. Skin flap necrosis was found in 2 elderly patients. Wound hematoma and surgical site infection developed in 1 patient each. Necrosis of the apex of axillary triangle occurred in one woman with diabetes. These rare complications were managed successfully in all the cases.

Conclusions: The Y-shaped approach for modified radical mastectomy is a simple and safe technique. It facilitates the wide access to axilla and improves cosmesis in women with obesity by eliminating lateral dog ear deformity.

  • Breast cancer
  • Modified radical mastectomy
  • Mastectomy incision
  • Cosmetic results

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Conflict of interest: None to declare.

  • Financial source: Department's own sources.