Breast reconstruction performed on women after a mastectomy with tissue from their own body's abdomen generally results in considerable psychological and social benefits, as well as sexual well being within three weeks of the procedure, researchers from the University of Toronto reported in the journal Cancer. The authors say their findings provide important new data for breast cancer survivors who are considering breast reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction following a mastectomy has two aims:
- To restore the breast's appearance
- To improve the patient's psychological health after cancer treatment
Toni Zhong, MD, MHS, from Toronto University and researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City set out to determine more clearly what the mental and physical consequences might be for women who undergo two advanced forms of breast reconstruction surgery.
They surveyed 51 patients who underwent free MS-TRAM or DIEP flap reconstruction between June 2009 and November 2010. These two forms of breast reconstruction are becoming more popular in Europe and North America. The surgeon takes some tissue from the woman's abdomen and reconstructs the breast with it.
The Tram Flap Procedure
The flap is raised and transported to the target breast
The breast is reconstructed using abdominal tissue
Results after the procedureIn this study, the patients filled in questionnaires before surgery, and then three weeks and three months afterwards.
Below are some highlighted data of their findings:
- Patients experienced considerable improvements in sexual wellbeing within three weeks of the procedure
- Patients experienced significant improvements in psychological and social wellbeing within three weeks of the procedure
- Three months after surgery, patients continued reporting decreased physical wellbeing in the abdomen where the tissue had been removed
Dr. Zhong wrote:
"In the current healthcare environment where patients and providers increasingly seek evidence-based data to guide clinical decisions, discussing satisfaction outcomes with patients will help them make educated decisions about breast reconstruction. Our study can serve as an important source of evidence to guide the decision-making process for both surgeons and patients."
Written by Christian Nordqvist