Differences in appearance of breasts based on race

June 24, 2014

A new study led by ASPS Member Surgeon Dr. Robert D. Galiano of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine suggests that the cosmetic results of a lumpectomy may differ between ethnicities. The objective is the same but the perception of cosmetic outcomes is different between African American and Caucasian women. Validated assessment tools were used to help optimize breast appearance for women.

 

Ten African American and 11 Caucasian women participated in the study. Each women was undergoing breast-conserving therapy for breast cancer. Breast-conserving therapy is an attempt by surgeons to avoid a mastectomy. Radiation therapy is likely followed by the surgical procedure to prevent the cancer from reoccurring.

 

A “multimodal” assessment of the cosmetic outcome was done on each woman in the study. The study used a three-dimensional photographic analysis to measure breast volume and symmetry.

 

The women involved in the study also participated in a newly developed questionnaire. This used subjective ratings for cosmetic outcome after breast-conserving therapy. The rankings included appearance of the nipple, breast shape, scarring, and skin. This rankings were determined by the plastic surgeon, breast oncologic surgeon, and a trained research assistant.

Breasts that were undergoing lumpectomy seemed to be smaller than in the untreated breast. They were smaller by about 100 cc. Reportedly, there was no major difference between African American and Caucasian patients.

There were major differences in subjective ratings between each race of woman. African Americans scored lower than Caucasian women. Breast symmetry and appearance were both rated lower by health care professionals and patients.

 

Nipple appearance and breast shape ratings remained fairly constant. There was also a great difference in scores when it came to scar appearance ratings.

Breast-conserving therapy is important for women undergoing breast cancer treatment. It is an attempt to keep as much of the breast as possible and maintain normal appearance. With a very talented Des Moines plastic surgeon, there is potential for a better final appearance.

 

Depending on your race or ethnicity, cosmetic outcomes may vary. According to the study, African American women have lower ratings in good outcomes of the appearance of their breasts.

 

However, the study is not entirely accurate. First, only two types of races participated in the study. It is unknown exactly how breast-conserving therapy affects Hispanics or Asians. Also, the study lacks various techniques for assessing breast appearance.

 

The differences in scar ratings could be a result of radiation therapy. Due to genetic factors, African American may be at higher risk of physical reactions to the radiation therapy. Dr. Galiano stated, “The novel techniques of cosmetic evaluation used in this study show promise towards identifying variables that can affect cosmetic outcome following BCT.”

 

If you are suffering from breast cancer and need to undergo either a lumpectomy or mastectomy, Dr. Franks may be the right choice for you. He is a board certified plastic and well-trained in breast reconstructive surgeries. You can even get a complimentary consultation. Dr. Franks can answer any questions you have about the surgery. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact 515.421.4299.

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