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Study Indicates Improvements in Key Areas After Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure among women in the U.S. According to the annual statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), about 290,000 women underwent cosmetic breast augmentation in 2013. Why is this such a sought-after procedure? A study published in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), seems to provide the explanation.

The study used the validated BREAST-Q© survey to analyze the actual gains to women after the treatment. The survey evaluated changes in six areas affecting quality of life. The areas covered were: satisfaction with breasts and with overall outcome; psychosocial, sexual, and physical well-being; and satisfaction with care. The study noted gains in key areas after breast augmentation for young and middle-aged women, though satisfaction rates were comparatively lower in older women.

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Here are the details of the study

  • 611 women participated in the survey
  • The questionnaire was filled in before breast augmentation surgery and again at six weeks and six months afterwards
  • The participants had breast enlargement using implants (usually silicone) placed "under the muscle" (submuscular)
  • The BREAST-Q indicated significant improvement in most aspects of quality of life
  • On a 100-point scale, scores for satisfaction with breasts improved from 25 before surgery to about 80 afterward
  • On a standard measure of changes in health, the rating for degree of the improvements in quality of life was "very large"
  • Scores were 90 for women under age 30, 86 for those in their thirties, 82 for those in their forties, and 77 for those older than 50

For older women, the scores after surgery were lower compared to the ones before surgery. However, scores returned towards normal in six weeks.

The benefits of many types of medical or surgical treatments are now increasingly assessed based on the quality of life improvements they provide. This study offers good hope for younger and middle aged women to utilize surgical options such as breast augmentation to improve their quality of life.