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Body Image and Psychological Sequelae of Silicone Breast Explantation: Preliminary Findings

Walden, Katherine J. M.A.; Thompson, Kevin J. Ph.D.; Wells, Karen E. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: October 1997 - Volume 100 - Issue 5 - p 1299–1306
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Twenty-two breast explantation (implant removal) and 20 cholecystectomy patients were assessed preoperatively and postoperatively and compared with 20 nonsurgical control subjects on several body-image measures, depression, self-esteem, and self-reported health status. Explantation patients had higher breast anxiety and upper torso dissatisfaction than either control group and levels were unaffected by implant removal. The discrepancy between self-rated ideal and current breast size increased substantially after implant removal for the explantation group, but did not change for controls. Overall appearance satisfaction level and positive appearance-related cognitions decreased as a function of surgery for explantation patients, but remained unchanged in cholecystectomy and nonsurgical controls. Depression levels were elevated in explantation patients and did not change as a function of surgery; self-reported health status level improved for the explantation group, but levels still remained below those of both control groups after explantation. Therapeutic indications for the elevated depression levels and unique body-image issues that patients undergoing explantation experience are discussed. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 100: 1299, 1997.)

Tampa, Fla.

From the Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, and the Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of South Florida College of Medicine. Received for publication September 4, 1996; revised January 27, 1997.

J. Kevin Thompson, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology

University of South Florida

Tampa, Fla. 33620-8200

©1997American Society of Plastic Surgeons