Now more than ever, breast surgery patients have a wide range of information sources to reference regarding their procedure. From outside sources or directly from your plastic surgeon, you can learn about what to expect during surgery. However, some patients are not receiving the information they need. A recent study published by the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses argues that breast surgery post-operative information is “fragmented, incomplete, or lacking.”
By analyzing interviews with 48 patients, the authors of this article sought to uncover what is missing and report on the informational needs of women who undergo breast reconstruction, breast reduction, and breast augmentation.
They found 2 predominant themes among breast surgery patients: unexpected outcomes and helpful/unhelpful information. Both themes have some clinical implication for plastic surgeons performing breast surgery – namely, a “need for more comprehensive education to better prepare women undergoing breast surgery and to help create more realistic expectations.”
Overall positive outcomes were reported by patients in the study, but most of them also reported an unexpected event. Swelling, numbness, discomfort, sensations in the skin, and a “just plain weird feeling and uncomfortableness” were cited by participants. Had these patients received more complete information before surgery, they would have been psychologically prepared for these events, the authors suggest.
Patients in the study also named the most useful information sources that prepared them for breast surgery:
- Before and After Photos
- Online forums
- Stories about the experiences of other women
These sources are readily available online, but you should still seek a plastic surgeon who is willing to provide comprehensive information about breast surgery and what to expect during your recovery.
You can purchase access and read the article “Not What I Expected: Informational Needs of Women Undergoing Breast Surgery” through the journal, Plastic Surgical Nursing.