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J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2013 Dec;66(12):1652-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2013.07.015. Epub 2013 Aug 2.

Breast reconstruction with an expander prosthesis following mastectomy does not cause additional persistent pain: a nationwide cross-sectional study.

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Department of Plastic Surgery, Breast Surgery and Burns Unit, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address:



Few studies have examined the prevalence of persistent pain after breast reconstruction with an implant after tissue expansion in comparison to mastectomy without breast reconstruction. Our primary objective was to evaluate the prevalence of persistent pain after breast reconstruction with a subpectoral implant after tissue expansion in a population-based study. Secondary objectives were to evaluate sensory disturbances, lymphoedema and functional impairment.


This was a nationwide cross-sectional questionnaire study of breast cancer patients aged 18-69 years who were treated with or without reconstruction after mastectomy for primary breast cancer in Denmark between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2006. The response rate was 84% for mastectomy without reconstruction and 83% for patients treated with breast reconstruction.


A total of 129 patients treated with mastectomy and breast reconstruction with a subpectoral implant were compared with 1131 patients treated with mastectomy without reconstruction. Prevalence of persistent pain for patients treated with mastectomy followed by reconstruction with an implant was 40% compared to 48% of patients treated only with mastectomy. We found no increased risk of persistent pain in patients having a reconstruction with an implant compared with mastectomy without reconstruction (odds ratio (OR) 0.82, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.55-1.22, P=0.33) when adjusting for age, axillary procedure, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. We observed no difference in the prevalence of pain between patients treated with immediate or delayed breast reconstruction (P=0.116).


Breast reconstruction with a subpectoral implant after tissue expansion does not confer increased prevalence of persistent pain.


Axillary lymph node dissection; Breast cancer; Breast implant; Breast reconstruction; Persistent pain; Tissue expansion

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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