Quality of life after breast reduction surgery: a 10-year retrospective analysis using the Breast Q questionnaire: does breast size matter?

Ann Plast Surg. 2012 Oct;69(4):361-3. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e31824a218a.


Background: Patient reported outcome studies are extremely valuable. We hypothesize that breast reduction surgery has a high satisfaction rate, and that body mass index (BMI), and the amount of breast tissue removed would not alter this outcome. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is an improvement in the quality of life in patients undergoing breast reduction surgery, and whether breast volume or patient size influences this outcome.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed on 600 consecutive patients at a single institution from 2000 to 2010. Patients were mailed The Breast Q questionnaire to complete. Demographic, surgical, and clinical data were collected and entered into a database. Descriptive statistical analyses were conducted using SAS Software version 9.1.3 with statistical significance determined at P<0.05.

Results: A total of 178 surveys were returned and included in our study (a response rate of 29.6%). Patient data included a mean BMI of 28.3 (4.6) kg/m, and mean total amount of breast tissue removed of 1220.9 (665.4) g. The primary indications for patients having breast surgery were for symptomatic macromastia (85%), asymmetry (5.6%), and for cosmesis (2.5%). The Breast Q questionnaire demonstrated patients overwhelmingly agreed that they were satisfied with their breast surgery. The mean response was 2.8 with a standard deviation (SD) of 0.47 (where 1, disagree; 2, somewhat agree; and 3, definitely agree). Patient BMI and total amount of breast tissue removed had a statistically significant positive correlation (0.479; P<0.0001). There was no statistically significant difference between the amount of total breast tissue removed and patient response (P=0.57).

Conclusions: The study supports a positive outcome after breast reduction surgery. Over 95% of the patients surveyed were satisfied and would do it again. It demonstrates the improvement of the patient's quality of life regardless of the amount of breast tissue removed. Furthermore, it suggests that the size and weight of the patient has no impact on this outcome. As we face new government and insurance restrictions for surgeries that have both cosmetic and reconstructive value, patient reported outcome studies may have an influence on future third-party payer.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Breast / abnormalities
  • Breast / anatomy & histology
  • Breast / surgery
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy / psychology
  • Hypertrophy / surgery
  • Mammaplasty / methods
  • Mammaplasty / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Supplementary concepts

  • Gigantomastia