Expanding Patient-Reported Outcome Tools After Mastectomy
I’m honored to have recently had a paper published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery focused on patient-reported outcomes after nipple-sparing mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Over the past decade, plastic surgeons have realized the importance of not just reporting on complication rates after surgical procedures, but also specifically focusing on how patients feel about their surgery, or “patient-reported outcomes”. For this study I was lucky enough to collaborate with some experts in the field of patient-reported outcomes, including Dr. Andrea Pusic, who is the lead developer of a patient-reported outcomes tool called the BREAST-Q. The BREAST-Q has become widely adopted in breast surgery research and is thought of as the gold standard for assessing patient-reported outcomes after a variety of breast surgery procedures. Patient-reported outcome tools after mastectomy are important.
Prior to our research study, the BREAST-Q hadn’t yet included questions specifically related to nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) in regards to NSM scars, nipple sensation, or nipple appearance. The goal of our study was to speak to women who had undergone NSM and immediate reconstruction, as well as health care providers treating women after NSM, to come up with and validate survey questions that could help to better understand how women feel about these outcomes. Following the validation of these questions in our study, the questions can now be incorporated into the BREAST-Q to help surgeons improve their techniques and get women better outcomes.
As my husband Dr. Ziv Peled and I move forward with our innovations in mastectomy and reconstruction techniques to allow women to have breast and nipple sensation after NSM and implant reconstruction, we’re excited to have better patient-reported outcomes tools like the more comprehensive BREAST-Q survey to help us really understand our results and continue to innovate further.