Breast reconstruction patients often experience a renewed outlook on life, according to a new study.
The study, which was conducted at the University Health Network Breast Restoration Program at the University of Toronto, asked women about the procedure three weeks after surgery, and again three months after. What it found was that even three weeks out, when healing was still taking place, is that many patients reported an improvement in their overall well-being.
Even if some patients experienced complications following their procedure, which were remedied, many still felt the surgery had improved their lives.
What was interesting, however, is that the type of reconstruction the patients chose affected how they felt about the surgery and their healing. A common breast reconstruction option is to use implants to recreate the breast. This procedure generally has a shorter recovery time than other breast reconstruction options, but may require implant revision within several years. The second, more involved breast reconstruction option is to use tissues from the patient’s own body, such as the stomach.
Patients who selected a tissue-based breast reconstruction option experienced a longer recovery, as well as weakened abdominal muscles. This weakening of the stomach muscles is an expected side effect, but some patients feel it can inhibit everyday functions, even like getting out of bed in the morning.
To remedy this, the researchers suggested that more should be done to make patients aware of the side effects of tissue-based reconstruction. This would include the patient working with a physiotherapist, to help them regain use of the stomach muscles.
Even with these new findings, the researchers stress the importance of finding a breast reconstruction option that fits with the patient’s lifestyle. What is ideal for one woman, may not work for the next.
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