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 still lacking necessary information about the recovery period. A recent study by the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses argues that information provided about post-operative events of breast surgery 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, “the need for more comprehensive education to better prepare women undergoing breast surgery and to help create more realistic expectations.”
Most patients in the study reported a positive outcome and high satisfaction with their surgeries, but most of them also experienced an unexpected event. Swelling, numbness, discomfort, sensations in the skin, and a “just plain weird feeling and uncomfortableness” were reported by patients in the study group.
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:
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 read the article “Not What I Expected: Informational Needs of Women Undergoing Breast Surgery” through PubMed.gov or the journal, Plastic Surgical Nursing.