BACKGROUND: Animation deformity can occur following subpectoral breast reconstruction and is an oft-touted rationale for prepectoral reconstruction. Despite increasing recognition, there is a paucity of patient-reported outcome studies in women with animation deformity. METHODS: Women presenting after subpectoral implant-based breast reconstruction were evaluated for animation deformity. Video analysis and quantitative deformity assessment were performed in conjunction with BREAST-Q surveys. BREAST-Q data were compared to our quantitative animation grading scale to assess the relationship between animation severity and patient-reported outcomes. RESULTS: One hundred forty-one subpectoral breast reconstructions met inclusion criteria. Average scores were 67.8 ± 17.9 of 100 for satisfaction with breasts and 78.3 ± 14.1 of 100 for physical well-being. Animation deformity severity did not correlate with satisfaction with breasts (p = 0.44). Physical well-being, particularly pain-related questions, increased with increasing animation (p = 0.01); specifically, patients reported significantly less pulling, nagging, and aching in the breast (p = 0.01, p = 0.001, and p = 0.004, respectively). Patients with the least and most severe animation deformity had significantly higher numbers of revision procedures (0.89 and 1.03 procedures, respectively) compared with patients with intermediate deformity (0.49 procedures; p = 0.01 and p = 0.009, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Although pectoralis release creates a more mobile-and more animating-reconstruction, this same release may lead to less pain because muscle is no longer contracting against a fixed space. This may lead to two distinct origins of subpectoral revision: (1) patients in pain (but low animation) and (2) patients with visibly distorted animation (but low pain).Risk, II.
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