Decision making in breast implant selection for breast reconstruction: A mixed-method study among plastic surgeons

E. R. Eijsink, J. X. Harmeling, M. A.M. Mureau, E. M.L. Corten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Background: 

Breast implants and the (dis)advantages of their characteristics (shape, filling, surface, and brand) have been studied extensively. When selecting a specific breast implant, a plastic surgeon makes a trade-off between the various (dis)advantages. However, the factors affecting the choice of their preferred breast implant have not been studied in detail. 

Methods: 

This is a mixed-method study. First, five plastic surgeons were interviewed to identify factors that influence their choice of a breast implant in a reconstructive setting. Second, 42 plastic surgeons were asked to state their preferred implant, weigh the collected factors, and indicate when they would deviate from their preferred implant. 

Results:

The interviews produced a varied list of factors that influenced the choice of breast implant, including complication rates, marketing, economic, and logistic factors. The results from the survey showed variation in preferred implant and substantial variations in the weighing of these factors. The two most important factors were “study outcomes” and “brand reputation”. Ninety percent of the respondents were willing to deviate from their preferred implant, with the patient's preference being the main indication to deviate. 

Conclusions: 

The list of factors that influence the plastic surgeons’ choice of a breast implant in a reconstructive setting is extensive and their weighing showed substantial variation. Implant choice was not based solely on scientific evidence. Brand reputation was valued highly, implying that media and marketing may have considerable influence. Therefore, patients must be informed extensively about all aspects of breast implants during shared decision making to obtain true informed consent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-295
Number of pages13
JournalJPRAS Open
Volume38
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

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