Nurses Study Informational Needs of Breast Surgery Patients

With so many rich information sources online, the average cosmetic surgery patient can learn a lot before the consultation even begins. During a consultation, your plastic surgeon should answer your questions and provide information in order to help you make an educated decision and manage your expectations about the procedure.  However, according to a recent paper published in Plastic Surgical Nursing, some patients are still lacking valuable information.

The authors argue that information about breast surgery post-operative events is “fragmented, incomplete, or lacking.”  They reached this conclusion by studying interviews with 48 patient who underwent breast reconstruction, breast reduction, and breast augmentation.

2 predominant themes were seen 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.”

Patients generally reported positive outcomes for their surgeries, but most of them also reported an unexpected event.  Some patients who experienced post-operative swelling, numbness, discomfort and sensations in the skin were not prepared for these events.  If they had been educated about these possible events, the patients would have been psychologically prepared, the authors suggest.

However, many patients in the study did receive useful information, either from their surgeons or from a website.  Patient stories, before and after photos and online discussion forums were cited as helpful.  Although These information is readily available online, 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 or the journal, Plastic Surgical Nursing.

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