As well as the medical outcomes of two distinct operations, namely total mastectomy and breast-conserving therapy, their impact on the psychic structuring of the patient may differ. A group of 40 woman with who had undergone mastectomy were therefore compared with another 40 with who had received breast-conserving therapy, with regard to the variables of body image, self-esteem and social support. The women who underwent breast-conserving therapy had a more positive body image (P<0.001). The two groups showed a negligible difference with respect to self-esteem and social support (P>0.05). A negative correlation was found between body image and social support (P<0.05). Patients with total mastectomy therefore do have a more negative body image than patients receiving breast-conserving therapy. Self-esteem and social support in the postoperative period in two groups are comparable.