'Fantastic 4' of breast procedures leave women extremely satisfied

October 08, 2008

CHICAGO - Breast augmentation, lift, combination lift/augmentation and reduction achieve high satisfaction rates; enhance self-esteem and quality of life; and 99 percent of women would have their surgery again, according to a first-of-its-kind study to be presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2008 conference, Oct. 31 - Nov. 5, in Chicago. The study found breast lift and lift/augmentation to have a high level of patient satisfaction that rivals breast augmentation and reduction.

"Many studies have shown breast augmentation and reduction are highly gratifying procedures for women, but until now we've had limited information on patient satisfaction for breast lift or combination lift/ augmentation. This data fills in the gap," said Eric Swanson, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and study author. "When the vertical technique is used in the augmentation/lift procedure, patient satisfaction is high."

In this prospective study, 325 patients were interviewed about their breast procedures over a five year period, with a response rate of 81 percent. Almost all patients, 99 percent, would have their procedure again and 91 percent of patients reported improved self-esteem. Overall, patient satisfaction was 96 percent. The average result rating was 9.2 out of 10. According to Dr. Swanson, the high patient satisfaction rates for breast lifts and reductions in the study applied only to the vertical technique which was used on all patients.

The study also evaluated preferred breast shape, discomfort level, and recovery. Most women preferred a convex breast shape, i.e., fuller contour at the top of the breast.

"Naturally, breasts are fuller towards the bottom, but our study found patients want more fullness on top, which is hardly surprising in view of the purpose of bras," said Dr. Swanson.

Patients reported using prescription analgesics an average of 5.4 days, resumed driving in 5.8 days, returned to work in 7.5 days, and felt "back to normal" in 27.8 days. Pain rating was moderate overall, 5.4 out of 10, higher for breast augmentation (5.9) and lower for breast reduction (3.3).

"Prior to breast surgery, women often ask about discomfort level, recovery time, and when they'll be able to return to normal activities," said Dr. Swanson. "With this study, we now have the answers, provided by patients themselves."
Nearly 348,000 women had breast augmentations in 2007, making it the number one cosmetic plastic surgery procedure performed last year, according to ASPS statistics. In addition, more than 106,000 women had breast reductions and 104,000 women had breast lifts last year.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 6,700 physician members, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 90 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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