Purpose: This research aimed to explore factors associated with patient-reported breast and abdominal scar quality after deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap breast reconstruction (BR). Material and Methods: This study was designed as a descriptive cross-sectional survey in which women after DIEP flap BR were invited to complete an online survey on breast and abdominal scarring. The online survey was distributed in the Netherlands in several ways in order to reach a diverse population of women. Outcomes were assessed with the Patient Scale of the Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale (POSAS). Additional items were assessed with a numeric rating scale (NRS). Results: A total of 248 women completed the survey. There was a statistically significant worse POSAS scar appraisal for the abdominal scar compared with the breast scar. The vast majority of women reported high scores on at least one scar characteristic of their breast scar or ab- dominal scar. Overall, color, stiffness, thickness, and irregularity scored higher than pain and itching. Women were only moderately positive about the size, noticeability, location, and the information provided regarding scarring. Conclusion: It is crucial to address the inevitability of scars in patient education before a DIEP flap BR, with a particular focus on the abdominal scar, as women experience abdominal scars significantly worse than their breast scars. Providing more information on the experience
of other women and the expected appearance will contribute to having realistic expectations
while allowing them to make well-informed decisions.