Postmastectomy Breast Reconstruction: Exploring Plastic Surgeon Practice Patterns and Perspectives

Adeyiza O. Momoh, Kent A. Griffith, Sarah T. Hawley, Monica Morrow, Kevin C. Ward, Ann S. Hamilton, Dean Shumway, Steven J. Katz, Reshma Jagsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Within the multidisciplinary management of breast cancer, variations exist in the reconstructive options offered and care provided. The authors evaluated plastic surgeon perspectives on important issues related to breast cancer management and reconstruction and provide some insight into factors that influence these perspectives. Methods: Women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer (stages 0 to II) between July of 2013 and September of 2014 were identified through the Georgia and Los Angeles Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registries. These women were surveyed and identified their treating plastic surgeons. Surveys were sent to the identified plastic surgeons to collect data on specific reconstruction practices. Results: Responses from 134 plastic surgeons (74.4 percent response rate) were received. Immediate reconstruction (79.7 percent) was the most common approach to timing, and expander/implant reconstruction (72.6 percent) was the most common technique reported. Nearly one-Third of respondents (32.1 percent) reported that reimbursement influenced the proportion of autologous reconstructions performed. Most (82.8 percent) reported that discussions about contralateral prophylactic mastectomy were initiated by patients. Most surgeons (81.3 to 84.3 percent) felt that good symmetry is achieved with unilateral autologous reconstruction with contralateral symmetry procedures in patients with small or large breasts; a less pronounced majority (62.7 percent) favored unilateral implant reconstructions in patients with large breasts. In patients requiring postmastectomy radiation therapy, one-fourth of the surgeons (27.6 percent) reported that they seldom recommend delayed reconstruction, and 64.9 percent reported recommending immediate expander/implant reconstruction. Conclusions: Reconstructive practices in a modern cohort of plastic surgeons suggest that immediate and implant reconstructions are performed preferentially. Respondents perceived a number of factors, including surgeon training, time spent in the operating room, and insurance reimbursement, to negatively influence the performance of autologous reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)865-876
Number of pages12
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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