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Study Shows That Most Women Do Not Choose Immediate Post-Mastectomy Breast Reconstruction

Despite the benefits of immediate post-mastectomy breast reconstruction, only a small minority of women, regardless of age, choose this option, a new study indicates. Research has shown that compared with a delayed procedure, immediate post-mastectomy reconstruction improves psychological well-being and quality of life. The new study, headed by Dawn Hershman, M.D., associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center, indicates that only about one-third of women opt for the procedure, according to the American Association for Cancer Research.

Immediate breast reconstruction does lead to better results in patients with early stage breast cancer. That is a pretty much well known fact. This statistic of less than a third of women seeking this type of reconstruction in this light seems kinda sad, but keep reading:

The study notes that although overall rates of reconstruction have increased since 2000, the greatest increases were seen among women with commercial insurance (from 25.3 to 54.6 percent) and women under age 50 (from 29 to 60 percent). Among women younger than 50 who had commercial insurance, 67.5 percent underwent immediate breast reconstruction. Overall, women with commercial insurance were more than three times as likely to opt for immediate reconstruction compared with women without health insurance.

Well of course women with health insurance are going to be more likely to have breast reconstruction than those without particularly in a recession. Breast reconstruction is expensive and nobody does it for free. The good news is that amongst those who have insurance coverage breast reconstruction (whether immediate or delayed) is on the rise.

Level-headed analysis kinda takes the wind out of the big headline doesn’t it. When reading media takes on study results, it helps to read the studies themselves. Some media outlets are better than others of course.

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

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2 Responses to “Study Shows That Most Women Do Not Choose Immediate Post-Mastectomy Breast Reconstruction”

  1. Alisa Hideg says:

    Women are individuals. Some (like me) decide against reconstruction because the “options” are terrible! Implants that fail for 1/4 of women who also need radiation or a surgery (if you are overweight enough to do it) that leaves you with more scars and no feeling in you so called “breasts”? One option makes so sense, but is still rare and not immediate…check out micro fat grafting. We need more plastic surgeons to learn to do this! Alisa Hideg, MD – cancer survivor

  2. Elaine Schattner, MD says:

    I have a different opinion than the”Truth in Plastic Surgery” author. Not all women prefer to have their breasts reconstructed, and some are unaware of the potential complications when they sign on early, at the time of first surgery. Delays can be beneficial in allowing women time, after their diagnosis and initial treatment decisions, to find out about their options, surgical and otherwise, and then go forward with reconstruction through truly informed consent. Please see this related article –

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