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

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


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

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty / methods
  • Mammaplasty / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Treatment Outcome