Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Elective Breast Surgery Found To Be Safe

by Andrea L. Algar
Contributing Author

In last October's presentation at the American College of Surgeon's 98th Annual Clinical Congress, an award winning study showed that "breast surgery is safe, with little risk for life threatening complications and mortality."

In addition to the study results demonstrating breast surgery safety, it also was able to look at complication rates for a variety of breast surgeries, which in the past has been difficult to accurately examine. Philip J. Hanwright, a medical student at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, won an award for best scientific poster at the meeting. His research analyzed data from ACS's National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP).

Unlike previous studies that relied primarily on single-surgeon experiences, this program has compiled a very large database that includes both inpatient and outpatient surgeries from institutions nationwide. The database was created specifically to improve the quality of surgical care in the private sector.

With over 550,000 breast augmentation procedures performed each year in the United States, the study found complication rates to be low, at only 1.43%. Breast reduction and breast lift procedures had slightly higher complication rates of 2.75% and 4.64% respectively, with more surgical-site infections and wound disruptions.

What was also good news was that re-operation rates were also low, with breast augmentation at 1.19%, breast reduction at 1.94% and breast lift at 2.60% at thirty days. There was only one death in the entire group, and life threatening complications were extremely low at 0.0% for breast augmentation, 0.18% for breast reduction, and 0.15% for breast lift.

Martin U. Egenti, MD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, was quoted as saying. 'What we are doing is working." With most breast surgeries being elective, this is an important finding, and one that many women will feel great comfort in.

As in any type of surgery, discuss the risks and benefits with your surgeon. Your surgeon wants a successful outcome as much as you do, and he/she wants to keep you safe. You can do your part by being honest about your medical history, as well as any over-the-counter or unprescribed medications you take.


American College of Surgeons (ACS) 98th Annual Clinical Congress: Abstract 232. Presented October 3, 2012
Medscape Medical News, WebMD, Elective Breast Surgery Safe According to National Database, Lara C. Pullen, PhD, 10-04-12, Chicago, IL