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Breast. 2007 Dec;16(6):547-67. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Systematic review of studies of patients' satisfaction with breast reconstruction after mastectomy.

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School of Medicine, Health Policy and Practice, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK.


Systematic review of studies of patients' satisfaction with breast reconstruction published in English (1994-2006) using Medline, Embase, Cochrane databases. Twenty-eight studies related to cosmesis and two related to pain management were identified. Study designs were mostly randomised surveys but half of samples were small. Five studies compared surgical techniques and satisfaction, twelve analysed surgical techniques; two studies looked at the effect of radiation therapy. Nine studies assessed satisfaction determinants. All studies reported good levels of satisfaction. Methodological deficiencies (small sample sizes, context and study designs, satisfaction assessment, basic statistical analysis) limit the generalisability of the findings. Overall, studies suggested that patients were satisfied with breast reconstruction whatever the technique used, whereas age or procedure timing did not affect general satisfaction. Breast symmetry, size, shape and scars were reported as influencing the patients' score. Nipple reconstruction positively influenced satisfaction; radiation before/after reconstruction achieved satisfactory cosmesis, and complications predicted dissatisfaction.

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