Initial report from an online breast augmentation follow-up survey.
ABSTRACT The first Online Breast Augmentation Survey (Aesthetic Surg J 2004;24:117-135) reported on women who had undergone or who were considering breast augmentation with regard to motivation for surgery, patient satisfaction with results, and other issues. The Food and Drug Administration and others have also raised questions concerning informed consent, follow-up, health insurance, and related issues dealing with breast augmentation.
An Online Breast Augmentation Follow-Up Survey was designed to collect data from women who had undergone breast augmentation with regard to informed consent, follow-up, complications and problems following breast augmentation, and health insurance.
The survey comprised 56 questions, many of which were presented in a multiple-part format. Women who visited the Web site www.implantinfo.com and who had undergone breast augmentation were invited to participate in the survey. An independent research firm, Industry Insights, Inc. (Columbus, OH), assisted with the final design and collected and analyzed the data.
The survey was posted from April 8-June 30, 2003. Surveys were submitted by 1350 women. Ninety-two percent of respondents said that surgeons asked them to return for regular follow-up during the first postoperative year. Ninety percent said they would return to the original surgeon if a problem developed. Almost all respondents (94%) said that they had been informed by the surgeon, the surgeon's staff, or both of specific problems or complications that might be associated with breast implants and augmentation; 89% said that the information they received was adequate. Eighty percent said they complied with the surgeon's recommendations for follow-up visits, although compliance declined after the first postoperative year. The survey also showed that most women who undergo breast augmentation seek out information about the procedure before surgery from independent sources, in most cases from Web sites. Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they were involved in some way in deciding on implant size; 88% said they were satisfied with breast size after surgery. Fourteen percent of respondents reported additional implant-related surgery after the original augmentation.
Our data indicate that almost all patients are advised to return for follow-up visits, that most comply with their surgeons' recommendations for follow-up in the first postoperative year, and that the main reason for noncompliance is an absence of problems with implants. The survey also indicates that patients receive adequate informed consent from the surgeon or the surgeon's staff and that they also seek out information on their own. Finally, the data suggest that women who have undergone augmentation have a realistic appreciation of the problems involved and are willing to tolerate minor complications.