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The American Society of Breast Surgeons.
Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Breast Reconstruction in an Underserved Population: A Retrospective Study

Maxime M. Wang BA, Elizabeth Warnack MD, Kathie-Ann Joseph MD, MPH
Reconstructive Oncology
Volume 26, Issue 3 / March , 2019



Breast reconstruction can help restore the shape and appearance of breasts after surgery. Studies have shown that minority and uninsured patients are less likely to receive breast reconstruction after mastectomy.


We sought to determine if post-mastectomy reconstruction varied by patient ethnicity and insurance status in a medically underserved population.


This was a retrospective study of mastectomy patients seen at Bellevue Hospital Center, a safety-net hospital in New York City, between January 2010 and December 2015. The Chi square test was used to compare patient characteristics versus type of reconstruction chosen and likelihood of reconstruction. Logistic regression was used to examine likelihood of reconstruction, controlling for patient insurance status, race, age, stage at presentation, and contralateral prophylactic mastectomy.


Of the 750 patients included in the database, 220 underwent mastectomy. Overall, 73.6% of our patient population received breast reconstruction. Patients with Medicare insurance were less likely to get reconstruction compared with patients with other types of insurance (37.5%, p = 0.04). Hispanic patients were most likely to receive reconstruction (89.1%), followed by Black patients (80%) and Asian patients (66.7%) [p = 0.03]. There were no significant associations between patient race or stage at presentation and type of reconstruction. In a multivariate logistic regression, advancing age was associated with a decreased likelihood of reconstruction (adjusted odds ratio 0.91, p < 0.001).


In our underserved patient population, patients received breast reconstruction at rates higher than the national average. Institutional availability of patient navigators and preoperative counseling may contribute to more equal access to breast reconstruction.

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