Reporting of overall immediate breast reconstruction rates and of racial disparities varies significantly among 3 databases in the United States. Both the Nationwide Inpatient Sample and the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program report findings similar to each other, whereas the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database reports significantly lower results in several categories.1

These results indicate that use of the SEER database might not be generalizable to the whole US population.

Analysis of data in large databases increasingly informs clinical guidelines and health care policy. In research on breast cancer, researchers frequently use SEER, National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, and Nationwide Inpatient Sample databases.

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This study compared patterns in immediate breast reconstruction and examined the advantages and disadvantages of each database by identifying patients with invasive breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in each database between 2005 and 2012.

Data from a total of 1.2 million patients was examined, revealing immediate breast reconstruction in patients with invasive breast cancer significantly increased over time in all 3 databases. Researchers observed a similar trend in patients with DCIS.

Nonetheless, these results indicated significant differences in immediate breast reconstruction rates based on race. Additionally, the disparities varied among the 3 databases.

Notably, rates of comorbidities were similar among the 3 databases.


1. Kamali P, Zettervall SL, Wu W, et al. Differences in the reporting of racial and socioeconomic disparities among three large national databases for breast reconstruction. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017;139(4):795-807.