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New mathematical model for breast reconstruction decision making

Making the decision to get breast reconstruction can be tough for women with breast cancer. There is now a mathematical model that may be able to help women determine the right option.

A half-hour examining the patient’s personal values and preferences is all it takes. The study done by suggests the new study by Mia K. Markey, PhD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center suggests that with this information gathered by each woman, they can clarify the trade-offs among competing options for breast reconstruction.

The modeling approach is called multiattribute utility theory (MAUT). The modeling approach can be used for making various complex decisions. Dr. Markey wrote, “[MAUT] enables the quantification of outcomes given the preferences of the patient.”

The preliminary study questioned 36 women. These women had no history of breast cancer; they were questioned on a hypothetical basis. They were rated of their preferences in seven areas: satisfaction with the breasts, psychological well-being, well-being of the chest and abdomen, sexual well-being, out-of-pocket costs and time lost to reconstruction and associated medical procedures.

The average time questioning each woman was 34 minutes. There were nine mathematical models evaluated in the study. A risk averse multiplicative model was the most effective in determining preferences. Using this model, only six percent of women did not find it effective. This means that 94 percent of women in the study found that the model was beneficial in providing useful insight.

The study was not entirely effective in determining actual results, as these women were questioned hypothetically. Most women placed their well-being at the highest value when considering if they really were suffering from breast cancer. Some women rank risks or out-of-pocket costs at the top.

MAUT has been used to question people concerning prostate cancer and newborn intensive care as well. Dr. Markey wrote, “Making trade-offs is hard. The sheer number of possible outcomes…would overwhelm even the most rational, considerate, and persistent decision-maker.”

The results for MAUT have been very positive. The model is a fast approach to representing a woman’s preference in terms of breast reconstruction. With further research and development MAUT could be used to help make a large variety of decisions. It will be the most effective tool to help patient’s sort through the issues affecting complex health care decisions.

Dr. Markey explains that this will be a huge step for patient’s undergoing breast reconstruction. This modeling approach can help ease the decision making process for patients. Women dealing with breast cancer are already dealing with enough to worry about. This just takes one less worry away. With more research, women with breast cancer can use this for real-life decision making about breast reconstruction surgery.

If you or someone you know is suffering from breast cancer, consider breast reconstruction surgery. It is a big decision, but it is one that will be worth it in the long run. Dr. Franks is a board certified plastic surgeon with a lot of experience in breast augmentation and reconstruction. For more information about Des Moines plastic surgery, contact 515.421.4299.

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