Background: Historically breast cancer surgery was associated with significant psychosocial morbidity and suboptimal cosmetic outcome. Recent emphasis on women's quality of life following breast cancer treatment has drawn attention to the importance of aesthetic outcome and potential benefits of immediate breast reconstruction (IBR). Our primary aim was to assess patient's quality of life after IBR, compared to a matched group undergoing breast conservation. We also investigated the oncological safety and morbidity associated with immediate reconstruction.Methods: A prospectively collected database of all breast cancer patients who underwent IBR at a tertiary referral breast unit was reviewed. Patients were reviewed clinically, and administered two validated quality of life questionnaires, at least one year after completing then treatment.Results: 255 patients underwent IBR following mastectomy over a 55 month period. Reconstruction with ipsilateral latissimus dorsi flap was most commonly performed (88%). After mean follow-up of 36 months, IBR patients' quality of life was comparable to a group of age-matched women (n = 160) who underwent breast conserving surgery (p = 0.89). No patient experienced local recurrence (0%), distant metastases developed in 4.8% and disease related mortality was 2.2%. Post-operative morbidities included wound infection (11.8%), chronic pain (2.0%), capsular contracture (11%; 36% of whom had radiotherapy) and fat necrosis (14.1%). No patient experienced flap loss.Conclusions: IBR is a highly acceptable form of treatment for women requiring mastectomy. With high rates of patient satisfaction, low associated morbidity, and proven oncological safety, it is an appropriate recommendation for all women requiring mastectomy. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.