Go to content

Barriers to immediate breast reconstruction in the Canadian universal healthcare system


Purpose — To describe the population-based rates of immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) for all women undergoing mastectomy for treatment or prophylaxis of breast cancer in the past decade, and to evaluate geographic, institutional, and patient factors that influence use in the publically funded Canadian healthcare system.

Methods — This population-based retrospective cohort study used administrative data that included 28,176 women who underwent mastectomy (25,141 mastectomy alone and 3,035 IBR) between April 1, 2002, and March 31, 2012, in Ontario, Canada. We evaluated factors associated with IBR by using a multivariable logistic regression model with the generalized estimating equation approach.

Results — The population-based, age-adjusted IBR rate increased from 5.1 procedures to 8.7 in 100,000 adult women (43.7%; P < .001), and the increase was greatest for prophylactic mastectomy or therapeutic mastectomy for in situ breast cancer (78.6%; P < .001). Women who lived in neighborhoods with higher median income had significantly increased odds of IBR compared with mastectomy alone (odds ratio [OR], 1.71; 95% CI, 1.47 to 2.00), and immigrant women had significantly lower odds (OR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.44 to 0.78). A patient had nearly twice the odds of receiving IBR when she was treated at a teaching hospital (OR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.1 to 3.06) or at a hospital with two or more available plastic surgeons (OR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.53 to 2.65). Patients who received IBR traveled significantly farther compared with those who received mastectomy alone (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.05 for every 10 km increase).

Conclusion — IBR is available to select patients with favorable clinical and demographic characteristics who travel farther to undergo surgery at teaching hospitals with two or more available plastic surgeons.



Zhong T, Fernandes KA, Saskin R, Sutradhar R, Platt J, Beber BA, Novak CB, McCready DR, Hofer SO, Irish JC, Baxter NN. J Clin Oncol. 2014; 32(20):2133-41. Epub 2014 Jun 2.

View Source

Research Programs

Associated Sites