Purpose: There is enormous range in the reported rates of breast reconstruction. This study explored reasons for this variation by reviewing the published literature to examine rates of reconstruction, factors associated with uptake, and possible barriers.
Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed. Eligible studies reported rates of breast reconstruction and variables associated with uptake in women undergoing mastectomy for early invasive or in situ breast malignancy.
Results: Twenty-eight eligible studies were included, reporting 159,305 cases of breast reconstruction in 940,678 women. In these studies 16·9% of women underwent immediate or delayed reconstruction (range 4·9-81·2%, median 23·3%). Variables associated with reconstruction were: patient/tumour factors (early stage, no adjuvant therapy, young age, white race, private insurance, higher education/income), surgeon/hospital factors and psychological/other factors (including patient choice).
Conclusion: Rates of breast reconstruction were highly variable. Reconstruction appeared to be offered to a minority of women; around half took up the offer. The main reasons reported for no reconstruction included patient-related and adjuvant therapy-related factors. Clinicians' beliefs about reconstruction may be an important factor. Rates of reconstruction could be increased with early discussion of the options when mastectomy is chosen or required.
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