Women who undergo breast reconstruction after a mastectomy experience significant gains in psychological, social, and sexual well-being, a new study has found. These improvements are noticed just three weeks after the surgery.
The study's results provide new information to breast cancer survivors who are contemplating these types of breast reconstruction procedures.
The goal of breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is to restore the appearance of the breast and to improve women's psychological health after cancer treatment.
Toni Zhong, MD, MHS, of the University Health Network Breast Restoration Program at the University of Toronto in collaboration with her colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York City surveyed 51 women undergoing free MS-TRAM or DIEP flap reconstruction between June 2009 and November 2010.
During these procedures, surgeons take tissue from the patient's abdomen and use it to reconstruct the breast.
Women who underwent the breast reconstruction procedures reported significant improvements in psychological, social, and sexual well-being just three weeks after surgery.
Unfortunately, however, they continued to experience decreased physical well-being at the abdominal location where tissue was removed at three months following surgery.
The results may be helpful to breast cancer survivors who are considering breast reconstruction.
"Our study can serve as an important source of evidence to guide the decision-making process for both surgeons and patients," Dr. Zhong added.
The study results were published in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.