Women Give High Marks to Breast Reconstruction Using Patient's Own Tissue

breast cancer self-examination
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Key Takeaways

Mastectomy patients who had breast reconstruction using their own tissue were happier with the results than patients who got implants

The study findings surprised researchers, because this type of reconstruction has a higher rate of complications

Women whose reconstruction was performed in one stage rather than two were also happier

TUESDAY, Oct. 3, 2023 (HealthDay News) – Women who have breast reconstruction using their own tissue instead of implants ma be more satisfied with the results, new research shows.

"The findings were unexpected, since autologous breast reconstruction is a more complex procedure, with a higher rate of severe complications," said lead author Nadia Sadok, of University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands.

The study included 63 women who chose what’s called autologous reconstruction. This is done with a flap of the patient's own skin and underlying tissues. It also included 75 women who chose breast implants.

Researchers compared quality of life in women with breast cancer who chose these different options for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.

The patients rated their "satisfaction with breasts" and other outcomes before surgery and then again at six weeks and six months afterward.

Women in the autologous group had lower scores on all measures prior to their surgery. That included lower scores for satisfaction with breasts of an average of 49 points on a 100-point scale compared to 59 points for women choosing implant-based reconstruction.

The women whose surgery used their own tissue had higher rates of severe complications, 27% versus 12%.

Researchers expected these women would also have lower quality of life scores at follow-up.

That wasn't what happened.

Women who had autologous reconstruction had higher satisfaction scores at six weeks, an average 62 compared to 51 for implant patients. They also were more satisfied at six months, 68 versus 57.

Women who had immediate reconstruction had higher satisfaction scores, the study showed. So did those who had single-stage reconstruction rather than a two-stage procedure.

Scores for psychosocial and sexual well-being were also higher in the autologous group. Most other quality of life ratings, including overall satisfaction with outcomes, were similar between groups, the study showed.

The findings were published in an October supplement to the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

"It is possible that the differences in preoperative scores is not merely explained by the timing of reconstruction but that it is also related to body type and related to self-perceived body image and body satisfaction," the authors wrote in a journal news release.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on breast reconstruction.

SOURCE: Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott, news release, Sept. 28, 2023

What This Means For You

Considering breast reconstruction? New research offers information from other women who have had the procedure.

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