Many Breast Reconstruction Patients are Ill-Informed About Their Options

A recent article in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has revealed that a number of women treated with mastectomy were not well-informed about breast reconstruction. Since these patients were heavily involved in making serious decisions about treatment with their doctors, study authors Clara N. Lee and her colleagues fear that breast reconstruction patients may not be making high-quality decisions about their procedures.

Below are the survey questions, followed by the answer and the percentage of participants who got the right answer in brackets:

  1. In general, are women more satisfied with their breast reconstruction at the time of the mastectomy or when they delay reconstruction? (They are equally satisfied. 33.3% answered correctly)
  2. Do women feel more satisfied with the look and feel of breast implants or flaps? (Flaps. 15%)
  3. Is it true that an implant uses fat and tissue from other parts of the body to make a breast? (No. 13.1%)
  4. Is it true that breast reconstruction with a flap usually requires more than one surgery? (Yes. 28.6%)
  5. Which breast reconstruction surgery is easier on the body, that is, heals faster? (Implants, 57.1%)
  6. What percentage of women who have breast reconstruction will have a major complication within 2 years of the operation: below 25, 25-50, 50-75, or more than 75? (25-50%. Only 3.6% answered correctly)
  7. Does breast reconstruction affect future screening for breast cancer? (It has little to no effect. 35.7%)

Women who are considering reconstruction surgery in the aftermath of a mastectomy should always be sure to ask their plastic surgeon about all their options. Others who have gone through the same experience are also a great resource to draw upon. Online resources, such as the information provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) website, are also excellent places to have questions answered.

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