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Prophylactic Mastectomy and Reconstruction: Clinical Outcomes and Patient Satisfaction

Spear, Scott L. M.D.; Schwarz, Karl A. M.Sc., M.D.; Venturi, Mark L. M.D.; Barbosa, Todd B.Sc.; Al-Attar, Ali M.D., Ph.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: July 2008 - Volume 122 - Issue 1 - p 1-9
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318177415e

Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate both clinical outcomes and satisfaction in patients who have undergone prophylactic mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

Methods: A 5-year retrospective analysis of the senior author’s (S.L.S.) experience with breast reconstruction following prophylactic mastectomy was performed. Timing, type of mastectomy and reconstruction, complications, and cancer occurrence/recurrence were examined. Patients reported their level of satisfaction and willingness to undergo the procedure again. Aesthetic outcomes were graded by an independent and blinded group of surgeons.

Results: There were 101 breast reconstructions performed in 74 patients following prophylactic mastectomy. With a mean follow-up of 31 months, there were three breast-site complications in this group (3 percent). Forty-seven patients in the study had a unilateral prophylactic mastectomy; on the contralateral side with cancer, there were five breast-site complications in reconstructions following therapeutic mastectomy (10 percent). Aesthetic outcome ratings by surgeons were higher in the bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and reconstruction patients compared with the cancer patients who had undergone a therapeutic mastectomy and reconstruction along with a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy; however, this difference did not reach statistical significance. Patient satisfaction was higher in the bilateral prophylactic group, with all of the patients completing the survey stating they would undergo the procedure again.

Conclusions: Breast reconstruction following prophylactic mastectomy was as safe as or more safe than that following therapeutic mastectomy, which has been shown in other studies to result in a high percentage of patient satisfaction. Although not statistically significant, the results from reconstruction after prophylactic mastectomy trended toward improved aesthetic outcome with a lower complication rate compared with reconstruction after therapeutic mastectomy.

Washington, D.C.

From the Department of Plastic Surgery, Georgetown University Hospital.

Received for publication February 11, 2007; accepted November 18, 2007.

Disclosures:Scott L. Spear, M.D., is a paid consultant to Allergan, LifeCell, and Ethicon. No other authors have any financial conflicts of interest.

Scott L. Spear, M.D., Department of Plastic Surgery, Georgetown University Hospital, 3800 Reservoir Road N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007,

©2008American Society of Plastic Surgeons