The present study evaluated changes in patient health status and health-related quality of life 3 years after reduction mammaplasty. A previous investigation in the same study population of 49 women showed significant reduction of pain and subjective problems and improvement in health-related quality of life 6 and 12 months after the operation. The present article presents results on the health status and quality of life preoperatively and at 1 and 3 years after reduction mammaplasty. The same questionnaires were used regarding pain scored in six different locations (on a 10-point grading scale), subjective problems related to the size and weight of the breast (on a six-point grading scale), expectations of the operation (on a six-point grading scale), and health-related quality of life (with the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey, or Short Form-36). The 39 women who answered the questionnaire (response rate, 80 percent) scored minor nonsignificant changes in pain between the 1- and 3-year assessments, but the reduction of pain was still significant (p < 0.001) compared with preoperative scores. The same applied for the patients’ subjective problems, with no statistically significant changes between the 1- and 3-year assessments. Thus, the initially scored postoperative improvement (p < 0.001 for all items except sleep) remained. Three years after the operation, the patients’ preoperative expectations were still fulfilled. There were minor differences between the 1-year and the 3-year health-related quality-of-life scores (Short Form-36), but these were all without statistical significance. Compared with preoperative scores, major improvement was still found for all sub-scales (p < 0.05 to p < 0.001) except “role physical.” Reduction mammaplasty is an efficient remedy for pain and physical and psychological problems associated with macromastia. The improvements noted directly after the reduction mammaplasty remain stable and are, as judged by patient questionnaires and quality-of-life scores, of long-standing clinical importance.
From the Plastic Surgery Unit, Center for Surgical Sciences, and Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Insitutet, Huddinge University Hospital.
Received for publication October 29, 2002; revised July 28, 2003.
Lennart Blomqvist, M.D., Ph.D.
Plastic Surgery Unit, Center for Surgical Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, M52/CME, Huddinge University Hospital, 141 86 Stockholm, Sweden firstname.lastname@example.org