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Study Shows Post-Op Texting Helps Breast Reconstruction Patients

Texting your doctor may reduce visits

Any doctor will tell you that communication with them is important, especially after surgery. A new study shows that breast reconstruction patients can reduce follow-up visits and promote speedier recovery by simply keeping in touch with your surgeon through texts.

The study, found in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ (ASPS) official medical journal, followed 102 women who were undergoing breast reconstruction surgery following mastectomy. Half were encouraged to maintain contact with their doctor via text messages regarding their surgical drains, an integral part of breast reconstruction recovery.

Those in the texting group visited their surgeon, on average, about 2.82 times over 30 days, versus the control group, who visited 3.65 times on average. The texting group also were able to have their drains removed earlier than the control group.

“Consistent with the benefits of text messaging (ease of use, speed, simplicity), patients’ adherence to medical advice (monitoring and recording…drain output) improved in this study,” according to Dr. Roshni Rao, the study’s lead author, and his colleagues.

Despite convincing evidence that texting one’s surgeon is beneficial to the process, some obstacles stand in the way of the practice becoming widespread. There are concerns of doctor-patient confidentiality, as well as the doctor’s privacy and the issue of renumeration.

Talk to your doctor about the possibility of maintaining text-based contact with them. Also, remember that Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (BRA Day) is on the horizon.

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