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J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2008 Oct;61(10):1188-94. Epub 2007 Jul 2.

Quality of life, patient satisfaction and cosmetic outcome after breast reconstruction using DIEP flap or expandable breast implant.

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Department of Plastic Surgery, Rikshospitalet University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


In a cross-sectional postal survey, we compared patient-reported outcomes in patients undergoing breast reconstruction with the deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap or an expandable breast implant (EBI). We included 34 consecutive patients who had breast reconstruction with DIEP flap and 30 patients with EBI. Outcomes were assessed using the Short Form 36 (SF-36) quality of life questionnaire, two study-specific patient satisfaction questionnaires and a visual analogue scale (VAS) on cosmetic result. There were no significant differences in SF-36 subscale scores between the two groups. On the study-specific questionnaire, more patients in the DIEP group were satisfied with the appearance of their breast (P<0.0005) and reported an improved social relationship (P=0.02), and fewer patients were sad about their body image (P=0.01) after reconstruction than in the EBI group. On the other study-specific items, satisfaction was similar in the two groups. On all five VAS items, DIEP patients reported better cosmetic results than EBI patients. We conclude that patient satisfaction and cosmetic outcome were better after breast reconstruction with the DIEP flap compared with EBI, while there was no difference in health-related quality of life.

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