Rehabilitative and salvage surgery
Mastectomy can have devastating affects on a patient's body image, sexuality, and view of herself as a woman. The decision to have a breast reconstruction can be difficult for women who are already dealing with a cancer diagnosis. The plastic surgeon plays an important role in helping patients with decision-making and needs to recognize that clear communication during consultations can impact on patient's satisfaction with the outcome of reconstruction, perhaps even more than what happens in the operating room. This chapter discusses current breast reconstruction techniques (breast implants or use of the patient's own tissue), issues surrounding the timing of reconstruction and provides some examples of helpful statements to use with patients. For non-plastic surgeons involved in the care of breast cancer patients, this information may provide a solid foundation to facilitate individual patient counselling and support. The impact of breast reconstruction on quality of life and how patient expectations may shape perceptions of outcome are also examined.
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