Background and aim: Most studies on breast reconstruction evaluate different surgical techniques, types of implant or time of reconstruction. Moreover, evaluations are usually performed either by surgeons or by patients, but are rarely compared. We conducted a study on aesthetic outcome following breast reconstruction with implants comparing the evaluation by patients versus medical professionals.
Methods: Forty-seven patients, who had a breast reconstruction with implants between 2001 and 2010 (median follow-up 71 months), underwent a clinical examination, standardized photo documentation and filled out a questionnaire to evaluate their aesthetic result (rate 1 very good to 5 very poor). Photo documentation was independently evaluated by 18 medical professionals using the same evaluation instrument and the results were compared. Gender and patient aspects were taken into account.
Results: We found statistically significant differences between patients and medical professional ratings. The patient evaluation was better through all categories as compared to the evaluation by medical personnel. The degree of medical education or gender aspects did not significantly affect the professional ratings. Age at reconstruction, length of follow-up or primary versus secondary reconstruction did not seem to make a difference in the evaluations of the patients versus the medical professionals..
Conclusion: The differences between patient and expert opinion in rating of aesthetic results indicate that patient satisfaction is influenced by multiple factors and not only by good aesthetic outcome. Patient evaluation should therefore be carefully considered in treatment and outcome studies of breast reconstruction..
Keywords: Aesthetic outcome evaluation; Breast reconstruction; Implants; Questionnaire.
Copyright © 2014 British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.