Surgeon motivations behind the timing of breast reconstruction in patients requiring postmastectomy radiation therapy
J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg
OBJECTIVES: Although postmastectomy radiation therapy (PMRT) has been shown to reduce breast cancer burden and improve survival, PMRT may negatively influence outcomes after reconstruction. The goal of this study was to compare current opinions of plastic and reconstructive surgeons (PRS) and surgical oncologists (SO) regarding the optimal timing of breast reconstruction for patients requiring PMRT. METHODS: Members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBS), and the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) were asked to participate in an anonymous web-based survey. Responses were solicited in accordance to the Dillman method, and they were analyzed using standard descriptive statistics. RESULTS: A total of 330 members of the ASPS and 348 members of the ASBS and SSO participated in our survey. PRS and SO differed in patient-payor mix (p < 0.01) and practice setting (p < 0.01), but they did not differ by urban versus rural setting (p = 0.65) or geographic location (p = 0.30). Although PRS favored immediate reconstruction versus SO, overall timing did not significantly differ between the two specialists (p = 0.14). The primary rationale behind delayed breast reconstruction differed significantly between PRS and SO (p < 0.01), with more PRS believing that the reconstructive outcome is significantly and adversely affected by radiation. Both PRS and SO cited "patient-driven desire to have immediate reconstruction" (p = 0.86) as the primary motivation for immediate reconstruction. CONCLUSIONS: Although the optimal timing of reconstruction is controversial between PRS and SO, our study suggests that the timing of reconstruction in PMRT patients is ultimately driven by patient preferences and the desire of PRS to optimize aesthetic outcomes.
School of Medicine