BACKGROUND: Patients undergoing autologous breast reconstruction have higher rates of patient-reported satisfaction compared to patients undergoing prosthetic reconstruction. Obesity has been shown to increase postoperative complications in both microsurgical and implant reconstructions. The authors evaluated the effects of microsurgical breast reconstruction and prosthetic breast reconstruction on patient-reported outcomes and quality of life in obese patients. METHODS: A retrospective review of obese patients who underwent breast reconstruction from January of 2009 to December of 2017 was conducted. Patients were divided into two cohorts: microsurgical and two-stage tissue expander/implant-based reconstruction. BREAST-Q survey response, demographic information, complications, and need for revision procedures were analyzed. RESULTS: One hundred fifty-five patients met the inclusion criteria: 75 (48.4 percent) underwent microsurgical breast reconstruction and 80 (51.6 percent) underwent implant-based reconstruction. Cohorts were similar in body mass index, mean mastectomy specimen weight, laterality, indication for surgery, smoking status, and postoperative complications. Microsurgical reconstruction patients were younger (49.0 years versus 53.0 years; p = 0.02) and more likely to have delayed reconstruction [n = 70 (64.2 percent) versus n = 0 (0.0 percent); p = 0.0001]. BREAST-Q responses showed that microsurgery patients were more satisfied with their breasts (Q-Score of 63.4 ± 6.9 versus 50.8 ± 12.8; p = 0.0001), overall outcome (Q-Score 70.5 ± 13.0 versus 60.3 ± 10.8; p = 0.0001), and chest physical well-being (Q-Score of 69.1 ± 10.9 versus 63.8 ± 8.2; p = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Microsurgical breast reconstruction in obese patients yields higher satisfaction with breasts, overall outcomes, and chest physical well-being than implant-based reconstruction. Despite increased postoperative complications associated with obesity, microsurgical breast reconstruction appears to be a good choice for women who understand its risks and benefits and choose to proceed with it.
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