Doctors often promise patients that their reconstructed breasts will look even better than the breasts they had before.
The main problem is using the word “feel,” said Dr. Clara Lee, an associate professor of plastic surgery at Ohio State University who does reconstructive breast surgery. Surgeons who use a woman’s own tissue to recreate a breast might tell the patient that it will “feel” like a natural breast, referring to how it feels to someone else, not the woman.
“We don’t always mean what’s important to the patient,” Dr. Lee said.
“Our focus has been on what women look like,” said Dr. Andrea L. Pusic, a plastic surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who specializes in breast reconstruction and studies patients’ quality of life after breast surgery. “What it feels like to the woman has been a kind of blind spot in breast surgery. That’s the next frontier.”
The focus on how breasts look and feel to other people, rather than how they feel to the patient, speaks to the fact that women are still largely judged by their appearance