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Refusal of reconstruction after mastectomy

According to a study conducted by scientists from the UCLA Jonsson Universal Cancer Center, an increasing number of women are refusing reconstruction after a mastectomy, justifying this by saying that they are happy with their choice, even though some of them did not feel the support of their doctor.

Editor: Akhmetova Aigerim

Author: Bolysbek Dana



931 women who underwent unilateral or bilateral mastectomy without ongoing reconstruction of the thoracic tubercle were examined to assess motivating factors for refusing the procedure and to determine whether surgeons provided adequate information and support.


Of the women surveyed, 74% were satisfied with their result, and 22% experienced "categorical denial" when the procedure was not initially offered, the surgeon did not support the patient's decision, or intentionally left extra skin in case the patient changed their mind.


The team also looked at the reasons why the choice was made, and found that women indicated a desire for a faster recovery. On top of that, they wanted to avoid placing a foreign body in the belief that breast bump reconstruction is not important to their body image.


Attai and her team found that the majority of patients who chose to opt out of treatment were actually quite happy with the outcome of the treatment. The authors believe that the tool of a survey is usually used for evaluation of the results was the move towards reconstruction. To avoid this bias, researchers partnered with patient advocates to develop a unique study to assess the reasons for rejection, satisfaction with their decision, and factors associated with satisfaction. They also identified issues unique to these patients that were not reflected in other approved surveys.


"Some patients were told that the excess skin was intentionally left behind, despite the preoperative agreement to close the flat chest wall, for use in future reconstruction in case the patient changed her mind," said Attai, a member of the University of California, Los Angeles.