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Eur J Surg Oncol. 1996 Jun;22(3):262-6.

Patients' psychological and cosmetic experience after immediate breast reconstruction.

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Psychological Unit, Radiumhemmet, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Immediate breast reconstruction was introduced in 1990 at the Karolinska Hospital. A semistructured interview with 20 patients operated on between 1991 and 1994 was undertaken to evaluate patients' degrees of satisfaction regarding pre-operative information, the need for psychological support and the opinion about the cosmetic outcome. During the pre-operative period, 18 patients felt that they were engaged in the decision-making whereas two patients felt that the surgeon alone was responsible for the decision. Regarding pre-operative information given, 7/20 were satisfied, 5/20 were mostly satisfied, 5/20 were unsatisfied and 3/20 had no opinion. During the early post-operative period (<3 months), five patients felt anxiety or depression and 10 patients felt a need of additional psychological support. Within 6 weeks 19/20 patients returned to their occupational level. During the late post-operative period (>3 months), 19/20 patients were generally satisfied with the reconstructive procedure. Eight patients thought the final result exceeded their initial expectations and 11/17 accepted the new breast as an integrated part of their body. The results confirm that immediate breast reconstruction plays an important role in the surgical management of breast cancer. The need for pre-operative information and continuous psychological support in terms of an empathetic behaviour cannot be underestimated.

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