Comparing Breast Sensation between Alloplastic and Autologous Breast Reconstruction Patients Using the BREAST-Q Sensation Module
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BACKGROUND: Sensory recovery of the breast is a compelling frontier in comprehensive postmastectomy breast reconstruction. This study uses the BREAST-Q Sensation Module to evaluate the differences in women who underwent an alloplastic versus autologous breast reconstruction. METHODS: Women with a history of breast cancer and postmastectomy breast reconstruction were recruited through the Love Research Army, United States. Participants completed the BREAST-Q Sensation Module, which consists of three scales: Breast Symptoms, Breast Sensation, and Quality of Life Impact. Descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression analyses were used to compare outcomes between women undergoing alloplastic or autologous breast reconstruction. RESULTS: Of 1204 respondents, 933 were included for analysis: 620 (66.5 percent) underwent alloplastic reconstruction and 313 (33.5 percent) underwent autologous reconstruction. The average age and body mass index were 59.2 ± 10.1 years and 26 ± 5 kg/m 2 , respectively. Autologous reconstruction patients scored an average of 6.1 points (95 percent CI, 3.9 to 8.4; p < 0.001) and 5.3 points (95 percent CI, 2.5 to 8.1; p = 0.001) higher on the Breast Symptoms and Quality of Life Impact scales, respectively. No difference (0.0 points, 95 percent CI, -2.9 to 3.0; p = 0.75) was observed for the Breast Sensation scale. Increased time since reconstruction had a positive impact on Breast Symptoms scale scores. Radiotherapy negatively affected scores on both Breast Symptoms and Quality of Life Impact scales. CONCLUSIONS: Autologous breast reconstruction may be associated with fewer abnormal breast sensations and better sensation-related quality of life in comparison to alloplastic reconstruction. This information can be incorporated during preoperative patient counseling when discussing reconstructive options.