A History of Innovation: Tracing the Evolution of Imaging Modalities for the Preoperative Planning of Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction

Jevan Cevik, Ishith Seth, David J. Hunter-Smith, Warren M. Rozen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Breast reconstruction is an essential component in the multidisciplinary management of breast cancer patients. Over the years, preoperative planning has played a pivotal role in assisting surgeons in planning operative decisions prior to the day of surgery. The evolution of preoperative planning can be traced back to the introduction of modalities such as ultrasound and colour duplex ultrasonography, enabling surgeons to evaluate the donor site’s vasculature and thereby plan operations more accurately. However, the limitations of these techniques paved the way for the implementation of modern three-dimensional imaging technologies. With the advancements in 3D imaging, including computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, surgeons gained the ability to obtain detailed anatomical information. Moreover, numerous adjuncts have been developed to aid in the planning process. The integration of 3D-printing technologies has made significant contributions, enabling surgeons to create complex haptic models of the underlying anatomy. Direct infrared thermography provides a non-invasive, visual assessment of abdominal wall vascular physiology. Additionally, augmented reality technologies are poised to reshape surgical planning by providing an immersive and interactive environment for surgeons to visualize and manipulate 3D reconstructions. Still, the future of preoperative planning in breast reconstruction holds immense promise. Most recently, artificial intelligence algorithms, utilising machine learning and deep learning techniques, have the potential to automate and enhance preoperative planning processes. This review provides a comprehensive assessment of the history of innovation in preoperative planning for breast reconstruction, while also outlining key future directions, and the impact of artificial intelligence in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5246
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • breast reconstruction
  • history
  • innovation
  • preoperative planning

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