1. Tedesco, Deborah DNP, APRN, ANP-BC, CBCN, AP-PMN, CWS, CWCN-AP
  2. Makarem, Gasan CCMA, C-SA
  3. Mayo, James MD
  4. Loerzel, Victoria PhD, RN, OCN, FAAN


Women undergoing breast reconstruction sometimes have unrealistic or unformed expectations regarding the reconstructive process and outcomes. The objectives of this study were to assess preoperative expectations in women undergoing mastectomy and initial breast reconstruction, provide expectations-based education, and evaluate satisfaction with education. Fifty-one women undergoing mastectomy and breast tissue expander placement participated in this study. At a preoperative education appointment, participants completed a questionnaire to determine whether their expectations were realistic, unrealistic, or unformed. A nurse practitioner reviewed the results and provided patient-centered, expectations-based education to modify expectations from unrealistic to realistic or to set expectations from unformed to realistic. Four to 6 weeks after surgery, a second questionnaire was provided to assess perceived satisfaction with education. Unrealistic and unformed expectations were identified related to complications, pain, scarring, sensation, symmetry, and aesthetic results. After receiving patient-centered, expectations-based preoperative education, participants agreed they had received the appropriate amount of information and felt well prepared for their surgery and recovery. Most participants reported they were aware of possible complications, had effective tools to manage their pain, and had received adequate information about scarring and sensation changes. Some participants continued to have unrealistic or unformed expectations related to aesthetic results. Women undergoing breast reconstruction often have unrealistic or unformed expectations before surgery. Identifying these expectations and proving expectations-based education resulted in satisfaction with information provided.