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1.  Quantifying the Aesthetic Outcomes of Breast Cancer Treatment: Assessment of Surgical Scars from Clinical Photographs 
Accurate assessment of the degree of scaring that results from surgical intervention for breast cancer would enable more effective pre-operative counseling. The resultant scar that accompanies an open surgical intervention may be characterized by variance in thickness, color, and contour. These factors significantly impact the overall appearance of the breast. A number of studies have addressed the mechanical and pathologic aspects of scarring. The majority of these investigations have focused on the physiologic process of scar formation and means to improve the qualities of a scar. Few studies have focused on quantifying the visual impact of scars. This manuscript critically reviews current methods used to assess scars in terms of overall satisfaction after surgery. We introduce objective, quantitative measures for assessing linear breast surgical scars using digital photography. These new measurements of breast surgical scars are based on calculations of contrast and area. We demonstrate, using the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC), that the new measures are robust to observer variability in annotating the scar region on clinical photographs. As an example of the utility of the new measures, we use them to quantify the aesthetic differences of reconstruction following skin-sparing mastectomy vs. conventional mastectomy.
PMCID: PMC2958242  PMID: 20630016
Aesthetics; Breast Neoplasm; Esthetics; Mastectomy; Outcomes; Prostheses and Implants; Reconstructive Surgical Procedures; Surgical Flaps; Surgical Scars; Treatment Outcome; Quality of Life; Breast Conservation Therapy
2.  A Pilot Study on Using Eye Tracking to Understand Assessment of Surgical Outcomes from Clinical Photography 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2010;24(5):778-786.
Appearance changes resulting from breast cancer treatment impact the quality of life of breast cancer survivors, but current approaches to evaluating breast characteristics are very limited. It is challenging, even for experienced plastic surgeons, to describe how different aspects of breast morphology impact overall assessment of esthetics. Moreover, it is difficult to describe what they are looking for in a manner that facilitates quantification. The goal of this study is to assess the potential of using eye-tracking technology to understand how plastic surgeons assess breast morphology by recording their gaze path while they rate physical characteristics of the breasts, e.g., symmetry, based on clinical photographs. In this study, dwell time, transition frequency, dwell sequence conditional probabilities, and dwell sequence joint probabilities were analyzed across photographic poses and three observers. Dwell-time analysis showed that all three surgeons spent the majority of their time on the anterior–posterior (AP) views. Similarly, transition frequency analysis between regions showed that there were substantially more transitions between the breast regions in the AP view, relative to the number of transitions between other views. The results of both the conditional and joint probability analyses between the breast regions showed that the highest probabilities of transitions were observed between the breast regions in the AP view (APRB, APLB) followed by the oblique views and the lateral views to complete evaluation of breast surgical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3180533  PMID: 20852914
Breast neoplasm; Eye movements; Biomedical image analysis; Decision support; Evaluation research
3.  Assessment of Breast Aesthetics 
Plastic and reconstructive surgery  2008;121(4):186e-194e.
A good aesthetic outcome is an important endpoint of breast cancer treatment. Subjective ratings, direct physical measurements, measurements on photographs, and assessment by three-dimensional imaging are reviewed and future directions in aesthetic outcome measurements are discussed. Qualitative, subjective scales have frequently been used to assess aesthetic outcomes following breast cancer treatment. However, none of these scales has achieved widespread use because they are typically vague and have low intra- and inter- observer agreement. Anthropometry is not routinely performed because it is impractical to conduct the large studies needed to validate anthropometric measures, i.e., studies in which several observers measure the same subjects multiple times. Quantitative measures based on digital/digitized photographs have yielded acceptable results but have some limitations. Three-dimensional imaging has the potential to enable consistent, objective assessment of breast appearance, including properties, such as volume, that are not available from two-dimensional images. However, further work is needed to define 3D measures of aesthetic properties and how they should be interpreted.
PMCID: PMC3097998  PMID: 18349598
Aesthetics; Breast Neoplasm; Esthetics; Mastectomy; Outcomes; Prostheses and Implants; Reconstructive Surgical Procedures; Surgical Flaps; Treatment Outcome; Quality of Life; Breast Conservation Therapy
4.  Toward Quantifying the Aesthetic Outcomes of Breast Cancer Treatment: Comparison of Clinical Photography and Colorimetry 
Rationale, aims and objectives
Scarring is a significant cause of dissatisfaction for women who undergo breast surgery. Scar tissue may be clinically distinguished from normal skin by aberrant color, rough surface texture, increased thickness (hypertrophy), and firmness. Colorimeters or spectrophotometers can be used to quantitatively assess scar color, but they require direct patient interaction and can cost thousands of dollars By comparison, digital photography is already in widespread use to document clinical outcomes and requires less patient interaction. Thus, assessment of scar coloration by digital photography is an attractive alternative. The goal of this study was to compare color measurements obtained by digital photography and colorimetry.
Agreement between photographic and colorimetric measurements of color were evaluated. Experimental conditions were controlled by performing measurements on artificial scars created by a makeup artist. The colorimetric measurements of the artificial scars were compared to those reported in the literature for real scars in order to confirm the validity of this approach. We assessed the agreement between the colorimetric and photographic measurements of color using a hypothesis test for equivalence, the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC), and the Bland-Altman method.
Overall, good agreement was obtained for three parameters (L*a*b*) measured by colorimetry and photography from the results of three statistical analyses.
Color measurements obtained by digital photography were equivalent to those obtained using colorimetry. Thus, digital photography is a reliable, cost-effective measurement method of skin color and should be further investigated for quantitative analysis of surgical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3072466  PMID: 19239578
Aesthetics; Breast Neoplasm; Clinical Photography; Reconstructive Surgical Procedures; Surgical Scars; Treatment Outcome
5.  Towards Quantifying the Aesthetic Outcomes of Breast Cancer Treatment: Assessment of Surgical Scars 
Our long-term goal is to develop decision aids that will improve breast cancer treatment by explicitly taking aesthetics in the consideration. Essentially all breast cancer treatment involves surgery, which inevitably leaves scars. However, the extent and type of scarring is not the same for different surgeries (e.g., different forms of reconstruction.) We present our preliminary experiences in using image processing techniques to quantify scar characteristics in clinical photographs.
PMCID: PMC1560447  PMID: 16779296

Results 1-5 (5)