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Abstract: Ambulatory surgery for breast cancer patients.


Margolese RG, Lasry JC.


Department of Surgery, McGill University, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Ann Surg Oncol. 2000 Apr;7(3):181-7.


BACKGROUND: Less than two decades ago, early discharge of mastectomy patients was found to be possible while the drains were still in place, without noticeable consequences for patients. Most reported studies focused on surgical complication rates and found no significant evidence of it. The objective of the present study was to compare inpatient to same-day discharge surgery for breast cancer, on unselected patients. METHODS: All interviewed patients (n = 90) had routine level I and II axillary lymph node dissection under general anesthesia, combined with breast surgery for most of them. The outpatient group comprised 55 patients and the inpatient group 35. Psychological distress was assessed, as well as pain, anxiety, quality of life, emotional adjustment, recovery, social relations, stressful life events, and so on. RESULTS: The sociodemographic characteristics of both surgery groups was quite similar, except that time from surgery to interview was about 1 year longer for inpatients. Outpatients and hospitalized patients report similar levels of pain, fear, anxiety, health assessment, and quality of life. Ambulatory patients manifest a significantly better emotional adjustment and fewer psychological distress symptoms. Inpatients reported that it took an average of 27 days to feel that they had recovered from surgery, about 10 days longer than outpatients. Inpatient return to usual activities was also about 11 days later. CONCLUSIONS: Same-day discharge patients are not at a disadvantage compared to hospitalized patients; i.e., they report faster recovery and better psychological adjustment. Outpatient surgery may thus foster patient emotional well-being better than routine hospitalization.


Breast Surgery Mastectomy