Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Docs push back on women who want flat chests rather than post-mastectomy reconstruction

Although some women prefer flat chests after a mastectomy, many surgeons fight them and push for reconstruction.

According to a story by Fran Kritz in The Washington Post some time ago, "several of those who sought the procedure say they got pushback — and outright denial — from their doctors when they brought it up."

Dr. Deanna Attai
The article focuses on Dr. Deanna Attai, an associate professor at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, who surveyed nearly 1,000 women who'd had a single or double mastectomy without reconstruction. Her study found that almost three-quarters said they were satisfied with the result.

Kritz's story quotes Roshni Rao, chief of breast surgery at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, as having "seen more patients requesting to go flat after mastectomy, likely as they feel more power to make this decision."

Attai has noted that there's more awareness now that the process of reconstruction has risks: "Women who opt for reconstruction, whether a breast implant or their own tissue (called autologous reconstruction) could face multiple surgeries, post-surgery recovery, a 10 percent risk of infection which can get in the way of chemotherapy or radiation schedule, and, occasionally, implant recalls and removals."

Roughly 22 percent of the women in Attai's study, the Post story reports, "said a flat closure option was either not initially offer by their surgeon, or was not supported by the surgeon, or the surgeon intentionally left additional skin in case he patient changed her mind. That extra skin would require further surgery if the woman did not change her mind about the flat closure."

More information about the choice between flat-chestedness and reconstruction can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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