Life quality of patients who underwent breast reconstruction after prophylactic mastectomy: systematic review

Breast Cancer. 2018 Sep;25(5):497-505. doi: 10.1007/s12282-018-0862-8. Epub 2018 May 2.


Background: Prophylactic mastectomy is used to reduce the incidence of breast cancer in women with genetic predisposition and family history of breast cancer, and the rate of application is increased nowadays. Chronic pain, body image, and sexuality may negatively affect quality of life, while patients generally have increased quality of life and satisfaction after prophylactic mastectomy. The aim of this study is the evaluation of the results of the studies about quality of life of patients who underwent breast reconstruction after prophylactic mastectomy.

Methods: For the 1996-2016 literature, we searched the databases of Scopus, Science Direct, PubMed, EBSCO, Cochrane, Medline Complete, Ovid, Springer Link, Google Academic, Taylor & Francis, PsychINFO databases. For the gray literature, National Thesis Center and ULAKBIM databases were searched. Seven studies complying with the criteria were included in the review.

Results: Seven studies included in this study aimed to investigate the effect of prophylactic mastectomy on breast pain, numbness, sexuality and quality of life. When the studies were reviewed, we were found that the majority of the patients were satisfied with the results of the procedure, although the body image perception and pain/ movement/ perception and sexual problems were experienced after the breast surgery.

Conclusions: While overall satisfaction with cosmetic results was high, most women were not satisfied with the softness of the reconstructed breasts, and had problems with breast hardness, numbness and sex. Therefore, it is very important to inform the patients about the complications that may develop after the operation, while there is not enough data about the importance of informing the patients before the operation.

Keywords: Prophylactic mastectomy-breast reconstruction-life quality.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Implants
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty* / adverse effects
  • Mammaplasty* / methods
  • Prophylactic Mastectomy*
  • Quality of Life*