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Quality of Life After Breast Reduction

Hermans, Boukje J. E.*; Boeckx, Willy D. MD, PhD*; De Lorenzi, Francesca MD, PhD; van der Hulst, Rene R. W. J. MD, PhD*

doi: 10.1097/01.sap.0000171444.79737.70
Original Article

The purpose of this study is to compare health-related quality of life in women with symptomatic macromastia before and after breast reduction. Two comparable groups of women were enrolled in the study, those waiting for breast reduction (group 1) and those who underwent surgery approximately 2 years before (group 2). To evaluate the specific beneficial effects of breast reduction, we used a unique combination of general and specific questionnaires: the Short Form 36 Health Survey Questionnaire (SF-36), the European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE), the Self-Consciousness Scale (SCS), and the Derriford Appearance Scale 59 (DAS-59). The esthetic appearance of the breast was also evaluated using a visual analog scale (VAS). In both groups, preoperative back pain was present in more than 50% of patients. Complaints were significantly reduced after surgery. SF-36 showed significant higher quality of life in group 2 with regard to 7 of 8 investigated domains. Increased self-esteem after surgery, increased personal and public self-consciousness were observed. Moreover, the condition-specific DAS-59 showed that insecurity, pain, shame, and unattractiveness were significantly scored higher in the nonoperated group. Subjective esthetic score was significantly higher in the operated group (2.5 vs. 7.1). The data of this study provide further evidence that women who have been operated for breast hypertrophy have a significant improvement in quality of life compared with those who are not yet operated. These data are further evidence that breast hypertrophy is not solely an esthetic problem.

A study of 165 women undergoing breast reduction surgery demonstrated postoperative improvements in back pain, quality of life, self-esteem, and self-consciousness.

From the *Department of Plastic Surgery, Hand Surgery and Microsurgery, University Hospital of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands; and the †Department of Plastic Surgery, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.

Received October 20, 2004 and accepted for publication, after revision, May 5, 2005.

Reprints: R. R. W. J. van der Hulst, MD, PhD, Department of Plastic Surgery, University Hospital Maastricht, P. Debeylaan 25, Postbus 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands. E-mail: rvh@spch.azm.nl.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.