Background: The aim was to investigate the impact of loss of the breast on body image, as well as the relationship of the body image with quality of life and severity of the depression, comparing mastectomized patients with those with an apparent limb loss (extremity amputation).
Methods: Demographic data, and the side of the tissue/limb loss for mastectomy and transtibial amputation patients were recorded. Postoperative shoulder range of motion limitations of the operated-side in mastectomized patients, and postoperative knee flexion contracture in patients with amputation were evaluated. All patients were asked to complete Body Image Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, and Short Form-36.
Results: All of the 40 patients in the mastectomized group were female. In the amputation group, 4 (10.8%) patients were female and 33 (89.2%) were male. Body-image scores in mastectomized and amputation groups were 98.7±26.5, and 77.2±19.7, respectively (p<0.05). Physical-function scores of quality-of-life were significantly lower in the amputation group. For both groups, a significant positive relationship was evident between body-image and depression (r=0.327 and r=0.574, respectively). There were also significant negative relationships between body-image and physical role limitations (r=-0.395) and mental health (r=-0.335) in the mastectomized group, and between body-image, and emotional role limitations in the amputation group (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Although mastectomy does not result in loss of physical function, distortion of body image perception is worse than that caused by extremity amputation, and distortion of the body image affects the quality of life and mood negatively in mastectomized patients.