Background: Breast reconstruction (BR) is aimed at improving quality of life (QoL) after mastectomy. Patient satisfaction is an important indicator to evaluate the success of BR. This study explored patient satisfaction and its determinants in women undergoing deep inferior epigastric artery perforator (DIEP) flap BR as well as the impact of the procedure on body image, sexuality and QoL. Methods: Patient satisfaction and QoL were studied in 72 women who underwent DIEP flap BR using a study-specific questionnaire as well as the Short Form-36 (SF-36). Results: Patient satisfaction was very high. Approximately 90% of the patients reported that they had been sufficiently informed about the procedure and its consequences, that their preoperative expectations had been met, that the reconstructed breast felt like their own and that they would choose the same procedure again and would recommend this procedure to a friend. Patient satisfaction was positively and significantly related to the reconstructed breast(s) feeling like their own. Women with secondary reconstructions were more positive about changes in sexuality and femininity than women with primary BRs. There were no clinically relevant differences in QoL between our study population and a random sample of Dutch females. Conclusions: Women with DIEP flap BRs reported high satisfaction rates. However, to compare these satisfaction rates with other forms of BR, prospective studies in comparable groups are necessary.

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Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Damen, T., Timman, R., Kunst, A., Gopie, J., Bresser, P., Seynaeve, C., … Tibben, A. (2010). High satisfaction rates in women after DIEP flap breast reconstruction. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, 63(1), 93–100. doi:10.1016/j.bjps.2008.08.019