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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Satisfaction and quality of life in women who undergo breast surgery: A qualitative study

Anne F Klassen1*, Andrea L Pusic2, Amie Scott2, Jennifer Klok3 and Stefan J Cano4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University, 3A 1200 Main Street W, Hamilton, ON, L8N 3Z5, Canada

2 Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave, New York, NY, 10065, USA

3 University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

4 Neurological Outcomes Measures Unit, Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG, England, UK

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BMC Women's Health 2009, 9:11  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-9-11

Published: 1 May 2009



In cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery, measurement of patient-reported outcomes has become increasingly important to research efforts and clinical care. We aimed to describe how breast conditions and breast surgery impact on patient satisfaction and quality of life.


We conducted qualitative, in-depth interviews with 48 women who had undergone either breast reduction (n = 15), breast augmentation (n = 12), or breast reconstruction (n = 21) surgery in order to begin to build a theoretical understanding of patient satisfaction and quality of life in breast surgery patients. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically.


The patient interviews revealed that breast conditions and breast surgery impact women in the following six main areas: satisfaction with breasts; satisfaction with overall outcome; psychosocial well-being; sexual well-being; physical well-being; and satisfaction with the process of care. We used these six themes to form the basis of a conceptual framework of patient satisfaction and quality of life in women who undergo breast surgery.


Our conceptual framework establishes the main issues of concern for breast surgery patients. This new framework can be used to help develop local guidelines for future clinical assessment, management and measurement, establish the validity of the current management strategies, and develop evidence-based guidance for the development of new patient reported outcome measures for future outcomes research.