Breast Reconstruction Ups Psychosocial, Sexual Health

However, improvements are offset by abdominal donor site physical well-being deterioration

MONDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Women undergoing autologous tissue breast reconstruction experience significant gains in breast satisfaction, and psychological and sexual well-being as early as three weeks post surgery, according to a study published online Oct. 24 in Cancer.

Toni Zhong, M.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues evaluated the early psychosocial adjustments and health-related quality-of-life changes following autologous tissue breast reconstruction. Of the 55 women who underwent breast reconstruction between 2009 and 2010, 51 women completed the BREAST-Q Reconstruction Module, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and Impact of Event Scale (IES) questionnaires prior to surgery, and at three weeks and three months post surgery (response rate, 93 percent). Baseline and postoperative scores were compared using a repeated-measures design.

The investigators found that the BREAST-Q subscale scores (breast, sexual well-being, and psychosocial well-being) improved significantly after breast reconstruction. The subscale scores of chest and abdominal physical well-being deteriorated significantly three weeks after surgery, but improved significantly by three months post surgery. Large effect sizes were seen for the improvements in satisfaction, psychosocial, and sexual well-being (1.88, 1.52, and 1.31, respectively), whereas the effect size for abdominal donor site deteriorated (−1.56). Changes in BREAST-Q scores were statistically significant after adjusting for postoperative complications, and the findings on BREAST-Q were externally validated by changes observed on the HADS and IES scales.

"Satisfaction with breast reconstruction and improvements in sexual and psychosocial well-being were both clinically significant and meaningful to the patients," the authors write.

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