Grade for Breast-Reconstruction Reporting: All 'F's

Breast cancer surgery-outcome reports need retooling, according to study

(RxWiki News) Better standards for outcome-reporting after breast reconstruction are needed, according to a review in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Up to 40 percent of women with breast cancer undergo mastectomies each year in the United States. Researchers at the University of Bristol studied the reporting standards of surgical outcomes in breast reconstruction after reviewing 134 studies covering 42,000 women. About 55 percent of these studies were cohort studies; 36.6 percent were case series studies; and 8.2 percent were randomized controlled trials.

Shelley Potter, M.D., and colleagues analyzed various facets of surgical outcomes, including accrual of data, duration of follow-up, proportion of complications, reporting of total and procedure-specific complications, complication-severity, length of hospital stay and adjustment for risk factors such as smoking and radiotherapy. They found relevant methodological problems, an overarching dearth of reporting and many data inconsistencies.

"Details such as the severity of complications (41.8% of all studies), duration of follow-up (58.2%) and overall complication rates (59.7%) were often omitted," according to the study's authors.

The researchers also said that in addition to traditional clinical information and statistics, patient-reported outcomes (such as satisfaction, body image, functional results and cosmetic results) should be incorporated in future reporting, "if the outcomes selected are to be of value to the women making decisions about reconstruction."

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Review Date: 
December 5, 2010