Breast reconstruction after mastectomy: a survey of general surgeons in Singapore

ANZ J Surg. 2001 Apr;71(4):207-11. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1622.2001.02076.x.


Background: Breast cancer is the leading malignancy among women in Singapore. In the West as many as 30% of eligible patients undergo some form of reconstruction, but in Singapore breast reconstruction is not often performed.

Methods: A postal survey of general surgeons in Singapore (response rate of 46%) was conducted to ascertain the factors influencing their decision to refer for reconstruction and the possible concerns they had about reconstruction.

Results: Age, anticipated psychosocial morbidity and the need for adjuvant therapy were the most important factors identified. The survey also found that almost 30% of respondents were unsure of whether reconstruction would mask recurrence. Despite this, almost 80% of respondents felt that reconstruction was worth the effort, but 55% (compared to less than 20% in the West) felt that patients did not want reconstruction despite being advised of its availability.

Conclusion: Lack of information and the perception that patients would not want reconstruction may be important reasons for the low emphasis placed on the role of breast reconstruction in post-mastectomy patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • General Surgery / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mammaplasty / adverse effects
  • Mammaplasty / psychology
  • Mammaplasty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mastectomy* / adverse effects
  • Mastectomy* / psychology
  • Morbidity
  • Patient Selection
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Singapore
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Western World