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When Reconstructing a Breast, Patient’s Own Tissue Is Best

Last Updated: June 20, 2018.

WEDNESDAY, June 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- For women who have their breast removed while fighting cancer, using their own tissue for breast reconstruction is better than implants, a new study suggests.

More than 60 percent of women who undergo breast removal to treat breast cancer decide to have breast reconstruction, and that rate is rising. But the researchers said that there has been little information about long-term satisfaction and quality of life after breast reconstruction.

The study included more than 2,000 women in the United States who had breast reconstruction using either breast implants or their own skin, fat or muscle from elsewhere in the body ("autologous" reconstruction), such as the abdomen.

Two years after breast reconstruction, women who had autologous reconstruction reported greater satisfaction with their breasts and better psychosocial and sexual well-being compared with those who underwent implant reconstruction.

"Patient-centered data can best inform patients and clinicians about the potential risks and expected outcomes of breast reconstruction when making a decision between implant-based or autologous breast reconstruction," said senior study author Dr. Andrea Pusic. She is chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

"Given the personal and intimate nature of breast reconstruction, patient-centered data are arguably the best measures of outcomes," Pusic said in a hospital news release. "An understanding of the expected satisfaction and quality of life is central to the decision-making process."

The study was published June 20 in the journal JAMA Surgery.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on breast reconstruction.

SOURCE: Brigham and Women's Hospital, news release, June 20, 2018

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