Post-mastectomy reconstruction: a comparative analysis on psychosocial and psychopathological outcomes

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2007;60(5):509-18. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2006.06.013. Epub 2006 Sep 6.


Although multiple benefits have been reported from post-mastectomy reconstruction and particularly from an immediate procedure, limited psychiatric evaluation has been published. The present study was planned to evaluate the psychosocial and psychopathological outcome in patients who had undergone post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. We also investigated if any psychopathological condition could significantly affect the benefits of the reconstructive procedure. We compared 33 breast-reconstructed patients with 33 patients with mastectomy alone and 33 healthy women. All women underwent a psychiatric interview with four questionnaire-based scales (SASS, QL-index, HAM-A, HAM-D) to assess social adaptation, quality of life, anxiety and depression. A 4-point scale evaluated reconstructed patients' satisfaction. After a year, there was no statistical difference in social, sexual relationships and quality of life among reconstructed patients and healthy women. Regarding anxiety, no statistical difference was found between reconstructed and mastectomy groups. Statistically different lower depression levels in the healthy group and higher levels in the mastectomy group were found. Depression in the reconstructed group decreased compared to the mastectomy group. Differences between timing and reconstructive techniques were not statistically validated. Eight patients were dissatisfied (24.2%). Immediate reconstructed patients who had pre-existing major depressive disorder were dissatisfied. Breast-reconstructed patients' quality of life, social and sexual relationships are not significantly different to those of healthy women. Anxiety does not decrease. Timing and techniques do not seem to influence, significantly, outcome and satisfaction. Pre-existing diagnosis of major depressive disorder may be a contraindication to immediate breast reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / etiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Mammaplasty / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Concept
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome