Women lack information on life after breast reconstruction

Research we’re watching

While up to half of breast cancer patients who’ve had a mastectomy choose breast reconstruction surgery, nearly one-third of American women aren’t aware that an emotional adjustment may be needed afterward, a new poll suggests.

The online survey involved 2,047 adults in the United States and was conducted in late September 2022 by Harris Poll researchers on behalf of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Researchers intended to remedy common misconceptions about breast reconstruction surgery.

The results suggest that many women lack information on how the procedure might affect them or their peers emotionally, physically, and financially. Just over half of women polled were unsure what options beyond breast implants are available to reconstruct breasts, including natural tissue from other body areas. Nearly three-quarters of women were unsure if they’d be responsible for paying for reconstruction surgery, though federal law requires insurance companies to cover the procedure after mastectomy. More than six in 10 women polled didn’t know it’s possible to regain some sensation in reconstructed breasts.

Women undergoing mastectomy should speak with a plastic surgeon to learn about their breast reconstruction choices, the ASPS said.

Image: © Pradit_Ph/Getty Images

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