Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 53–58 | Cite as

The Effect of Respiration on Breast Measurement Using Three-dimensional Breast Imaging

  • Chenglong Wang
  • Chunjun Liu
  • Giorgio Giatsidis
  • Hao Cheng
  • Lin Chen
  • Deni Kang
  • Adriana C. Panayi
  • Jie LuanEmail author
Original Article Breast Surgery



Three-dimensional (3D) imaging offers new opportunities to enable objective and quantitative analysis of the breast. Unlike scanning of rigid objects, respiration may be one of the factors that can influence the measurement of breast when using 3D imaging. In this study, we aimed to investigate how the different respiratory phases affect 3D morphologic and volumetric evaluations of the breast.


We performed preoperative 3D breast imaging at the end of expiration (EE) and the end of inspiration (EI). We repeated scans on each respiratory phase, taking four scans in total (EE1, EE2 and EI1, EI2). Using Geomagic Studio 12 software, measurements from the different respiratory phases (EE1 and EI1) were compared for differences in the linear distances of breast. Breast volumetric change error (BVCE) was measured between EE1 and EE2 (R1) and between EI1 and EI2 (R2). A multilevel model was used to analyze the difference of linear-distances parameters between EE1 and EI1 and a paired sample t-test was used to analyze the difference between R1 and R2.


Our study included 13 Chinese women (26 breasts) with a mean age of 32.6 ± 6.3 years. Compared with EI, EE showed a longer sternal notch to the level of the inframammary fold and shorter nipple to midline (p < 0.05). During EI, breast projection increased by 0.23 cm (95% CI − 0.39, − 0.08) and breast base width increased by 0.27 cm (95% CI − 0.46, − 0.09). The position of the nipple moved by 0.18 cm (95% CI − 0.34, − 0.03) laterally, 0.41 cm (95% CI 0.18, 0.64) cranially, and 0.71 cm (95% CI − 0.92, − 0.51) anteriorly. Although there was no significant difference in BVCE between EE and EI, the result seen with EE appeared to be more consistent.


The results of this study demonstrate that there was no difference in breast volume results when patients are in the expiratory or inspiratory state during 3D breast imaging. This study, however, holds potential benefits to both surgical practice as well as the 3D imaging industry.

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


Three-dimensional imaging Exhalation Inhalation Breast morphology Breast volume Mammaplasty 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature and International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Breast Surgery, Plastic Surgery HospitalChinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical CollegeBeijingChina
  2. 2.Tissue Engineering and Wound Healing Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic SurgeryBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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