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Cancer. 2012 Mar 15;118(6):1701-9. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26417. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

Patient satisfaction and health-related quality of life after autologous tissue breast reconstruction: a prospective analysis of early postoperative outcomes.

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Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery and Surgical Oncology, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



For this study, the authors evaluated early psychosocial adjustments and health-related quality-of-life changes after breast reconstruction.


All consecutive patients who underwent breast reconstruction between June 2009 and November 2010 were asked to complete the BREAST-Q, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and Impact of Event Scale (IES) questionnaires before surgery and at 3 weeks and 3 months after surgery. A repeated-measures design was used to compare scores between baseline and postoperative time points.


Fifty-one of 55 women completed the questionnaires (response rate, 93%). BREAST-Q subscale scores (breast, sexual well being, and psychosocial well being) improved significantly (P < .05) postoperatively. The other subscale scores related to physical well being of the chest and abdomen dropped significantly 3 weeks after reconstruction; and, by 3 months after reconstruction, both scores improved significantly (P < .05). Large effect sizes for improvements in satisfaction, psychosocial well being, and sexual well being were observed (1.88, 1.2, and 1.31, respectively); whereas deterioration in the effect size for abdominal donor site was reported (-1.56). After adjusting for postoperative complications, there were statistically significant changes in BREAST-Q subscale scores. Changes observed on the HADS and IES provided external validation of the findings obtained on the BREAST-Q.


The current results suggested that the gains in breast satisfaction, psychosocial well being, and sexual well being after patients undergo either free muscle-sparing transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap reconstruction or deep inferior epigastric artery flap reconstruction are statistically significant and clinically meaningful to the patient as early as 3 weeks after surgery. However, these gains are accompanied by significant deterioration in physical well being of the abdominal donor site.

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