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Breast Patients Report High Satisfaction Rates

Study provides new evidence on what women can expect after breast augmentation

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American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
May 1, 2013

A total of 98% of women who underwent breast augmentation surgery say the results met or exceeded their expectations, according to a prospective outcome study published in the May issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Women also report improvements in self-esteem and quality of life following breast augmentation, according to the study by ASPS Member Surgeon Dr. Eric Swanson, a Leawood, Kan., plastic surgeon. The study adds high quality information regarding expected outcomes after breast augmentation, including recovery time and psychological benefits.

98% of women satisfied with breast augmentation results

The survey study evaluated 225 consecutive women who returned for interviews at least 1 month after breast augmentation over a 5 year period. Interviews included questions about the recovery, results, complications and psychological effects.

The average patient age was 34-years-old and the majority of women received saline-filled breast implants placed under the muscle. The average implant volume was 390 cc.

On a 10-point scale, the women reported an average pain score during recovery of 5.9. On average, they used prescription pain medication for 5 days and were off work 7 days. Patients felt they were "back to normal" about 25 days after surgery.

A total of 85% of women rated their new breast size "just right." 13% would have preferred a larger size and less than 2% a smaller size. Only 1% expressed dissatisfaction with their scars, which were usually located in the crease under the breast. 75% of women rated their breast firmness "just right." When asked to rate the result, over half of the patients gave it a perfect 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. Almost all patients (98%) reported that the results met or exceeded their expectations.

Increased self-esteem and other psychological benefits

Nearly 40% of the women surveyed experienced at least temporary nipple numbness after surgery. Persistent numbness was reported by only 2%. The complication rate reported by patients was 10%. When asked about psychological effects, 92% of women reported improved self-esteem after breast augmentation and 64% reported an improved quality of life. Before surgery, the majority of women (86%) were self-conscious about their breasts. After surgery, only 13% were self-conscious.

Breast augmentation is the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the United States. About 286,000 operations were performed in 2012, according to ASPS statistics. The study results provide new information for women considering breast augmentation, particularly in terms of their expectations of the recovery and results. "This study is valuable in providing information from the patient's perspective, not the surgeon's," Dr. Swanson writes. "Patient satisfaction is the most important measure of surgical success."

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