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Supporting patients considering reconstructive surgery 

Supporting patients considering reconstructive surgery
Supporting patients considering reconstructive surgery

Diana Harcourt

and Alex Clarke

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date: 03 December 2020

Cancer diagnosis and treatment can have a significant negative impact on patients’ well-being, body image, sexuality, and sense of self. Reconstructive surgery is commonly assumed to offer improved body image and quality of life to patients whose appearance has altered as a result of cancer treatment, but deciding whether or not to undergo reconstructive surgery can be difficult. This chapter uses the example of breast reconstruction to consider the ways in which patients faced with complex decisions about appearance-altering reconstructive surgery might be helped to make the choice that is best for them. It outlines typical options around the type and timing of breast reconstruction, considers patients’ motivation for surgery, and satisfaction with the outcome. It then explores ways of helping them make their decision, highlighting the use of decision aids and interventions focused around patients’ expectations of surgery as a way of facilitating shared decision-making in this context.

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