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January 1979

Phantom Breast Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry (Drs Jamison, Wellisch, and Pasnau) and Anesthesiology (Dr Katz), University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine.

Arch Surg. 1979;114(1):93-95. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1979.01370250095021

• In this study of 41 women who underwent mastectomy, over half (54%) experienced phantom breast syndrome (PBS). Of these, 80% had phantom breast pain. The majority of women (58%) did not report their symptoms to their physicians, despite the considerable interference in their lives from these symptoms. Six variables were found to differentiate the women who had phantom breast syndrome from those who did not. All of these factors were closely related to the psychological aspects of mastectomy. Significant among these was that women who experienced PBS perceived both that they did not receive much emotional support from their surgeons, and that most of their emotional problems were secondary to the mastectomy. In these respects, they differed from women not reporting PBS. By early evaluation of each patient who is to undergo mastectomy, it should be possible to identify those at risk, to develop means to prevent the development of the syndrome, and to treat those women in whom the preventive attempts are unsuccessful.

(Arch Surg 114:93-95, 1979)

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