Long-Term Patient Reported Outcomes: Implant vs Autologous Breast Reconstruction

By: Courtney Floyd

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A study published in JAMA Surgery provides evidence-based insight into the long-term patient reported outcomes following breast reconstruction surgery. This information will continue to help patients make informed care choices.

The study followed over 2,000 women across the US and evaluated patient-reported satisfaction and well-being outcomes before and two years following breast reconstruction surgery. The women underwent either implant or autologous (or flap) breast reconstruction.

Researchers found that patients who underwent autologous reconstruction had greater satisfaction with their breasts, as well as a greater psychosocial and sexual well-being two years following surgery compared to those who underwent implant reconstruction.

The study, being the first to follow patients this long following surgery, also found satisfaction with breast and sexual well-being increased after two years for patients who underwent autologous reconstruction. For patients who underwent implant reconstruction, satisfaction worsened over time due to symmetry issues and the lack of the implant to age naturally.

PRMA patient Danae couldn’t agree more with this study. “Although implants were a quicker and easier surgery they were not the right choice for me in the long term since I had radiation. Over time the radiated side became hard and uncomfortable. I decided to have them removed 4 years later and had DIEP flap reconstruction and am so happy with my decision. My breast feel and look natural again!”

This study is an excellent reference for patients considering breast reconstruction after mastectomy. It is important for patients to be fully informed of all their options to make an informed decision that best meets their needs. Adding long-term studies with patient reported outcomes adds another import element for surgeons and patients to discuss when weighing all options. 

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