Psychological factors are broadly understood to contribute to overall health, but their contribution to wound healing is less well defined. Limited data exist on the association of preoperative psychological factors such as body image and postoperative complications. The present study analyzed the association between preoperative body image factors and postoperative complications following breast reconstruction.
This was a prospective cohort study of 302 breast cancer patients undergoing breast reconstruction from 2011 to 2015. All patients completed the BREAST-Q; demographics, surgical details, and postoperative complications were recorded. The association of body image factors by means of the BREAST-Q and postoperative complications was analyzed.
On univariate analysis, patients who reported lower preoperative satisfaction with how they appeared in the mirror unclothed, or felt less self-confident or attractive, were significantly more likely to develop an infection postoperatively. Preoperative satisfaction scores were not associated with complications when analyzed in a multivariate fashion. On binomial logistic regression analysis, after controlling for age, body mass index, reconstruction technique, and use of radiotherapy, patients who reported less preoperative satisfaction with how comfortably bras fit or how they appeared in a mirror unclothed were at an increased risk for delayed wound healing.
Patients with lower preoperative body satisfaction were found to have an increased incidence of infections and delayed wound healing. Although postoperative outcomes are multifactorial, the data suggest that baseline psychological factors such as body image may play a role in postoperative outcomes. Broader use of prehabilitative therapies, targeted at psychosocial factors, may warrant further investigation to optimize postoperative outcomes.
CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: