Findings from a study published in the July/August 2008 issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal show a marked improvement in quality of life for patients who underwent breast reduction surgery, indicating that benefits of the procedure go beyond the mere aesthetic result.
One hundred patients with breast hypertrophy were chosen to participate in the study, and randomly allocated into two groups. One group was selected to undergo breast reduction, while the other was put on a waiting list and served as a control group. At the beginning of the study, all patients were interviewed to collect demographic information, as well as to measure their self-esteem and functional capacity. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and Rolland-Morris (widely used self-esteem measures) were used for these quality of life measurements. Pain intensity was also measured using a visual analog scale. These measurements were evaluated again six months after the surgery.
After surgery, a decrease in the score on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale indicated a marked improvement in self-esteem in these patients versus those in the control group. Functional capacity had also improved in this group of patients, who also reported a significant decrease in intensity of pain in the lower back. It is reasonable to conclude that these improvements were brought about by the breast reduction surgery.
“Patients seek out breast reduction surgery for many reasons, not the least of which is to ease pain and discomfort associated with having larger breasts,” said Miguel Sabino Neto, MD, PhD, a plastic surgeon in São Paolo, Brazil and lead author of the study. “However, there is also an emotional discomfort as well, including low self-esteem, social and sexual embarrassment, and frustration with difficulties in performing daily routines. It was our goal to determine quantitatively whether these emotional issues improved, as well as the physical.”
According to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), 153,087 breast reduction procedures were performed on women in 2007.
“This study further demonstrates that the connection between the aesthetic results of plastic surgery and the emotional, social and physical quality of life of our patients cannot be underestimated,” said Alan H. Gold, MD, President of ASAPS. “These findings will go a long way towards helping us to evaluate and better understand the impact of plastic surgery on patients’ lives, and serves as an example of our commitment to evidence based medicine and outcome studies in aesthetic surgery.”
The Aesthetic Surgery Journal is the peer-reviewed publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and is the most widely read clinical journal in the field of cosmetic surgery, with subscribers in more than 80 countries.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the leading organization of board-certified plastic surgeons specializing in cosmetic plastic surgery. ASAPS active-member plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. www.surgery.org