Reduction mammaplasty aims to reduce breast mass whilst improving aesthetic appearance. Post-operative complications may include scar and nipple-related problems, haematoma, infection and glandular necrosis. In our unit, patients undergoing surgical procedures are counselled by a nurse practitioner in addition to initial specialist consultation to establish patients’ understanding of the potential complications and risks of bilateral reduction mammaplasty. Fifty patients completed questionnaires on admission to the ward the day before bilateral reduction mammaplasty. The questionnaires assessed patients’ awareness of potential complications before final consent. Over 90% of the patients appreciated that further surgery, infection, altered nipple sensation or nipple necrosis were potential post-operative complications. However, a small cohort of patients consistently failed to correctly identify important potential complications (8% felt that wound breakdown never occurred, 6% thought that nipple necrosis and breast asymmetry never occurred). It is interesting to note that 18% of the patients did not appreciate that scarring occurs. The majority of patients are well-informed about the potential complications and risks of reduction mammaplasty. However, despite initial consent by a plastic surgeon and nurse practitioner counselling, a minority still fail to fully appreciate certain important risks including the appearance of scarring. This may potentially manifest as patient dissatisfaction.
European Journal of Plastic Surgery – Springer Journals
Published: May 1, 2007
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