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Preop Body Image Tied to Breast Reconstruction Complications

Authors suggest that psychological factors, such as body image, may influence postoperative outcomes for breast reconstruction

THURSDAY, March 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Patients with lower preoperative body image satisfaction may have an increased risk for some postoperative complications after breast cancer reconstruction surgery, according to a study published in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Holly C. Lewis, M.D., Ph.D., from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues analyzed the association between preoperative body image factors and postoperative complications following breast reconstruction. The analysis included 302 breast cancer patients undergoing breast reconstruction from 2011 to 2015.

The researchers found on univariate analysis that patients who reported lower preoperative satisfaction with how they appeared in the mirror unclothed or who felt less self-confident or attractive were significantly more likely to develop an infection postoperatively. However, in a multivariate analysis, preoperative satisfaction scores were not associated with complications. Patients who reported less preoperative satisfaction with how comfortably bras fit or how they appeared in a mirror unclothed had an increased risk for delayed wound healing when controlling for age, body mass index, reconstruction technique, and use of radiotherapy.

“Although postoperative outcomes are multifactorial, the data suggest that baseline psychological factors such as body image may play a role in postoperative outcomes,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to a surgical implant company.

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