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The Magnitude of Effect of Cosmetic Breast Augmentation on Patient Satisfaction and Health-Related Quality of Life

McCarthy, Colleen M. M.D., M.S.; Cano, Stefan J. Ph.D.; Klassen, Anne F. D.Phil.; Scott, Amie B.Sc.; Van Laeken, Nancy M.D.; Lennox, Peter A. M.D.; Cordeiro, Peter G. M.D.; Pusic, Andrea L. M.D., M.H.S.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: July 2012 - Volume 130 - Issue 1 - p 218–223
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318254b3bc
Cosmetic: Outcomes Article
Press Release

Background: The objective of this study was to gain a better understanding of the magnitude of clinical change in health-related quality of life and patient satisfaction brought about by cosmetic breast augmentation.

Methods: A prospective, longitudinal study was performed. Women undergoing cosmetic breast augmentation were asked to complete the BREAST-Q Augmentation module both before and after augmentation. Before and after group-level comparisons included paired t tests and effect size statistics. The responsiveness of the BREAST-Q scales was also compared at the individual person level by computing, for each and every person, the significance of her own change in measurement.

Results: A total of 41 patients completed the BREAST-Q before and after augmentation. Patients reported that “satisfaction with breasts,” “psychosocial well-being,” and “sexual well-being” were significantly higher following augmentation compared with preoperative levels (p = 0.00, p = 0.00, and p = 0.00, respectively). These statistically significant change scores were associated with large effect sizes (d = 2.4, 1.7, and 1.9, respectively). Significant improvements in satisfaction with breasts, psychosocial well-being, and sexual functioning were seen in 38 (83 percent), 36 (88 percent), and 33 (81 percent) of individuals, respectively.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that the BREAST-Q Augmentation module detected significant benefits of breast augmentation surgery, as assessed by both group-level and individual-level responsiveness indices. Importantly, this finding strongly supports the hypothesis that cosmetic breast augmentation can have a significant and profound positive impact on a woman's satisfaction with her breasts and her psychosocial and sexual well-being.


New York, N.Y.; Plymouth, United Kingdom; and Hamilton, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

From the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, McMaster University, and University of British Columbia.

Received for publication October 5, 2011; accepted January 24, 2012.

Presented at The British Association Plastic Surgeons Annual Meeting, in London, United Kingdom, December 3 through 5, 2008.

Disclosure: The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.

Colleen M. McCarthy, M.D., M.S.; Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, Room C1189, New York, N.Y. 10021,

©2012American Society of Plastic Surgeons