01 May 2009

New research in the open access journal BMC Women's Health has revealed the six major factors that affect how happy a woman feels with the outcome of her breast surgery procedure. According to the findings, while the final appearance of the breast remains important, there are five other major influencing outcomes that affect satisfaction levels.The team of researchers was led by Andrea Pusic from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York. Together, they interviewed 48 women who had undergone breast reduction, breast augmentation or breast reconstruction. The conclusions found that there were six main areas that affected how satisfied patients felt with their operation. These were satisfaction with breasts; satisfaction with overall outcome; psychosocial well-being; sexual well-being; physical well-being; and satisfaction with the process of care. However, while all six of these issues were common to women from all three groups, the importance varied depending on which breast surgery procedure they had experienced. Pusic said: "While physical well-being was of only limited importance to breast augmentation patients (only a few reported pain and discomfort post-operatively), it was often the main motivation behind breast reduction surgery (patients reported substantial pain and activity limitations pre-operatively), and was often an issue for women following breast reconstruction." As a result of the findings, the research team have developed a new patient-reported outcome measure dubbed BREAST-Q, comprised of three procedure-specific modules (augmentation, reconstruction and reduction). It is hoped that the study will be used as material for patient education, as well as helping to pave the way for shared medical decision-making in the field of breast surgery.