Phantom Breast Syndrome

Kay Jamison, David K. Wellisch, Ronald L. Katz, Robert O. Pasnau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-95
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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