According to a study published in the November/December issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal (ASJ) suggests that surgical treatment for breast asymmetry (disproportionate breast size) provides an improvement in the quality of life and self-esteem of patients. Breast asymmetry is not uncommon in women. In fact, few women have perfectly symmetrical breasts.

"Breast shape and size irregularities can cause damaging physical and emotional consequences," says  Miguel Sabino Neto, MD, PhD, lead author of the study. "While plastic surgery of the breast can provide an aesthetically acceptable result with few complications, it is important to also consider the impact on the physical, social, and psychological well-being of the patient."

Thirty-five patients with breast asymmetry were selected for the evaluation of the impact of breast asymmetry surgery on self-esteem and health-related quality of life. Patients that participated in the Brazilian study ranged from ages 16 to 50 years old.

Patients completed the Brazilian version of the SF-36, a quality of life indicator that measures eight dimensions of health status, including physical function, role limitations caused by physical problems, pain, health perception, vitality, social function, role limitations caused by emotional problems, and mental health. Participating patients also completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, which evaluates quality of life based on responses to 10 questions on the subject of self-esteem. Both were completed before and after surgery at 3 and 6 months post-operative follow-up.

A progressive improvement in all dimensions of the SF-36 was observed, with scores that were significantly higher for emotional factors at 3 months after surgery and for pain, vitality, and mental health 6 months after surgery. Self-esteem was also found to be statistically significant.

"These findings underscore the positive effect that surgical treatment can have on patients with breast asymmetry," says Foad Nahai, MD, a plastic surgeon in Atlanta, president of ASAPS, and associate editor of ASJ. "The results of such surgery go far beyond aesthetics, more importantly improving the self-esteem and quality of life of these patients."

[www.medicalnewstoday.com, December 18, 2007]