Long-term patient-reported outcomes of immediate breast reconstruction after mastectomy for breast cancer: population-based cohort study

Br J Surg. 2023 Nov 9;110(12):1815-1823. doi: 10.1093/bjs/znad276.


Background: Breast reconstruction is offered to improve quality of life for women after mastectomy for breast cancer, but information regarding the long-term patient-reported outcomes of different reconstruction procedures is currently lacking. The Brighter study aimed to evaluate long-term patient-reported outcomes after immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) in a population-based cohort.

Methods: Women who underwent mastectomy with IBR for breast cancer in England between 1 January 2008 and 31 March 2009 were identified from National Health Service Hospital Episode Statistics. Surviving women were invited to complete the BREAST-Q, EQ-5D-5L™, and ICECAP-A at least 12 years after the index procedure. Questionnaires were scored according to developers' instructions and compared by IBR type.

Results: Some 1236 women underwent IBR; 343 (27.8 per cent) had 2-stage expander/implant, 630 (51.0 per cent) latissimus dorsi, and 263 (21.3 per cent) abdominal flap reconstructions, with a mean(s.d.) follow-up of 13.3(0.5) years. Women who underwent abdominal flap reconstruction reported higher scores in all BREAST-Q domains than those who had other procedures. These differences remained statistically significant and clinically meaningful after adjusting for age, ethnicity, geographical region, socioeconomic status, smoking, BMI, and complications. The greatest difference was seen in scores for satisfaction with breasts; women who had abdominal flap reconstructions reported scores that were 13.17 (95 per cent c.i. 9.48 to 16.87) points; P < 0.001) higher than those among women who had two-stage expander/implant procedures. Women who underwent latissimus dorsi reconstruction reported significantly more pain/discomfort on the EQ-5D-5L™, but no other differences between procedures were seen.

Conclusion: Long-term patient-reported outcomes are significantly better following abdominal flap reconstruction than other traditional procedure types. These findings should be shared with women considering IBR to help them make informed decisions about their surgical options.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty* / methods
  • Mastectomy / methods
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • State Medicine
  • Treatment Outcome