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Quality of Life After Breast Reduction Surgery: Does Breast Size Matter?

Gonzalez, Marco A. MD*†; Glickman, Laurence T. MD, FACS*†; Aladegbami, Bola MD*†; Simpson, Roger L. MD, FACS, MBA*†

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e31824a218a
Clinical Papers

Background Patient reported outcome studies are extremely valuable. We hypothesize that breast reduction surgery has a high satisfaction rate, and that body mass index (BMI), and the amount of breast tissue removed would not alter this outcome. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is an improvement in the quality of life in patients undergoing breast reduction surgery, and whether breast volume or patient size influences this outcome.

Methods A retrospective chart review was performed on 600 consecutive patients at a single institution from 2000 to 2010. Patients were mailed The Breast Q questionnaire to complete. Demographic, surgical, and clinical data were collected and entered into a database. Descriptive statistical analyses were conducted using SAS Software version 9.1.3 with statistical significance determined at P < 0.05.

Results A total of 178 surveys were returned and included in our study (a response rate of 29.6%). Patient data included a mean BMI of 28.3 (4.6) kg/m2, and mean total amount of breast tissue removed of 1220.9 (665.4) g. The primary indications for patients having breast surgery were for symptomatic macromastia (85%), asymmetry (5.6%), and for cosmesis (2.5%). The Breast Q questionnaire demonstrated patients overwhelmingly agreed that they were satisfied with their breast surgery. The mean response was 2.8 with a standard deviation (SD) of 0.47 (where 1, disagree; 2, somewhat agree; and 3, definitely agree). Patient BMI and total amount of breast tissue removed had a statistically significant positive correlation (0.479; P < 0.0001). There was no statistically significant difference between the amount of total breast tissue removed and patient response (P = 0.57).

Conclusions The study supports a positive outcome after breast reduction surgery. Over 95% of the patients surveyed were satisfied and would do it again. It demonstrates the improvement of the patient’s quality of life regardless of the amount of breast tissue removed. Furthermore, it suggests that the size and weight of the patient has no impact on this outcome. As we face new government and insurance restrictions for surgeries that have both cosmetic and reconstructive value, patient reported outcome studies may have an influence on future third-party payer.

From the *Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Nassau University Medical Center, Garden City; and †Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony Brook, NY.

Received January 4, 2012, and accepted for publication, after revision, January 8, 2012.

Presented in part at the Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgery Scientific Forum, Annual Meeting, Jacksonville, FL, October 2011.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Laurence T. Glickman, MD, FACS, Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, Nassau University Medical Center Plastic Surgery Residency Program, 999 Franklin, Avenue, Garden City, NY 11530. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.