Background: Reconstructing a breast mound constitutes the basis of breast reconstruction. The breast can be reconstructed using autologous tissue, implants or a combination thereof. The number of women wishing a breast reconstruction has increased, but evaluation of the results is lacking. The current study examined the long-term results from three methods of breast reconstruction to assess the subjective and the objective outcome.
Patients and methods: Patients undergoing first-time post mastectomy reconstruction, selected from the cohort of Danish women in the Central and North Region of Denmark, were evaluated. We included 363 women, reconstructed in 1990-2005. Data was collected from patient charts, a study specific questionnaire (to be found online at http://www.informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/0284186X.2011.584554 ) and a clinical follow-up visit. The questionnaire included questions regarding demographic background and evaluation of the reconstructed breast and donor site. The clinical follow-up visit included an examination of the overall result and donor site.
Results: The questionnaire was answered by 263 women, of whom 137 had an implant, 26 had a latissimus dorsi musculocutaneus flap and 100 had a pedicled transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneus flap. Women reconstructed with autologous tissue were significantly more pleased with the result of the breast reconstruction than women reconstructed with an implant. After a median of seven years, neither the patient's age nor the length of time since the reconstruction significantly affected the patients' opinion of the overall result. There was no difference in the incidences of minor complications among the different reconstructive methods. BMI, smoking and radiation therapy influenced the risk of complications. Objective evaluation of the 180 women participating in the follow-up visit was in agreement with data from the questionnaire.
Conclusion: The type of reconstruction had a significant long-term influence on patient satisfaction and the objective result. Women reconstructed with autologous tissue were significantly more pleased, and the objective outcome was assessed as superior.