Giving your consent to breast reconstruction surgery
Before you have any operation, your surgeon will explain its aims. They will ask you to sign a form giving your permission (consent) for the surgery to take place.
Before giving your consent you should receive full information about:
the type and extent of the surgery you are advised to have
the advantages and possible disadvantages of the surgery
any other types of surgery that may be suitable for you
possible complications and any significant risks or side effects.
If you don’t understand the information you have been given, let the staff know straight away so that they can explain again. Breast reconstruction can be complex, so it’s not unusual for people to need explanations repeated.
It’s often a good idea to have a relative or friend with you when the surgery is explained, to help you remember the discussion more clearly. You may also find it useful to write down a list of questions before your appointment.
People sometimes feel that hospital staff are too busy to answer their questions, but it’s important for you to be aware of how your treatment might affect you. Your surgeon and breast care nurse should allow time for you to ask questions. You can ask for more time to decide about the surgery if you feel you can’t make a decision when it’s first explained to you, especially if you’re having a delayed reconstruction. You may need to make a decision more quickly if you’re having a reconstruction at the same time as the operation to remove the cancer (immediate reconstruction).