Women's Mastectomy with Flat Closure Experiences

Tyner, Tracy
Freysteinson, Wyona M.
Evans, Stephanie C.
Woo, Jennifer
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Women choosing flat closure, a procedure that creates a flat contoured chest wall after mastectomy, have reported clinician resistance to their surgical decision. This hermeneutic phenomenological study aimed to explore the pre and postmastectomy experiences of women choosing flat closure after a breast cancer diagnosis. The decision-making, mirror- viewing, and flat closure experiences of 19 women were examined. Women choosing flat closure experienced pressure to undergo reconstructive options. Mirror-viewing experiences of women receiving suboptimal flat closure outcomes led to shattered expectations, mirror avoidance, psychological distress, and body image disturbances. Regardless of surgical outcome, decision satisfaction was high. Body image improved with time and flat closure revision surgery. The findings illustrate the importance of bodily autonomy and supportive healthcare environments for women making flat closure decisions. Providing flat closure education and addressing post-operative expectations can improve women’s decision- making and mirror-viewing experiences and assist women as they adapt to their new flat bodies. (Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Wyona Freysteinson)

Supported by Sigma Theta Tau International Beta Beta Houston Chapter: Lucile Petry Leone Research Grant.