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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2008 Sep;122(3):717-24. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318180ed06.

Interactive digital education aid in breast reconstruction.

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  • 1Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.



An interactive digital education aid for breast reconstruction patients was developed because of a perceived need to provide patients with more education regarding the treatment so that they can make better informed treatment decisions. A prospective randomized study was conducted to assess its effectiveness.


Breast cancer patients who were candidates for breast reconstruction were recruited and randomized into a control group and a study group. Both groups received routine assessment and education in the plastic surgery clinic, but the study group also watched the interactive digital education aid. Questionnaires assessing knowledge, anxiety, and satisfaction were administered (1) before the initial plastic surgery consultation, (2) immediately before surgery, and (3) 1 month after surgery.


A total of 133 women participated, 66 in the control group and 67 in the study group. Women in both groups showed decreased anxiety, increased knowledge, and enhanced satisfaction with their decision-making ability associated with preoperative instructions about reconstructive surgery. However, the study group was significantly more satisfied than the control group with the method of receiving information and showed a less steep learning curve regarding the different techniques of breast reconstruction. They also tended to have a reduced mean level of anxiety and increased satisfaction with the treatment choice compared with the control group.


An interactive digital education aid is a beneficial educational adjunct for patients contemplating breast reconstruction. Patients who use an interactive digital education aid demonstrate greater factual knowledge, reduced anxiety, and increased postoperative satisfaction compared with patients given preoperative instructions using standard methods alone. The benefit of an interactive digital education aid is expected to be higher in a broad-based practice setting outside of a comprehensive cancer center.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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