NY State has a new breast reconstruction law

New York State has a new law affecting breast reconstruction surgery.(link) It’s now a requirement in that state for the cancer surgeon to discuss options for breast reconstruction surgery with the patient, prior to her mastectomy surgery, even if they have to refer the patient elsewhere for the reconstructive plastic surgery.

Recent studies have shown that only 30 percent to 40 percent of the women who had mastectomies received breast reconstruction. Poor, minority women are also less likely to receive breast reconstruction after cancer than more affluent women.

The law came about largely through the efforts of Dr. Evan Garfein, a plastic surgeon at Montefiore Medical Center in NYC. Dr. Garfein hopes the number would be closer to 75 percent if more women were informed of their options.

Reconstructive plastic surgery for breast cancer patients has been covered by health insurance, by Federal law, since 1998.

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