Establishing a Telemedicine Program for Breast Reconstruction

Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2020 Mar 20;8(3):e2594. doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000002594. eCollection 2020 Mar.


Telemedicine is an application of modern technology that allows for the remote delivery of healthcare services to diagnose and treat patients. The potential patient benefits of such a program include added convenience, lowered costs, and improved access. From a practical standpoint, establishing a telemedicine program may seem daunting to the plastic surgeon; success requires not only patient and provider adoption, but also integration of new technology. Despite these challenges, breast reconstruction patients are among those who stand to benefit most from telemedicine technology, as this patient population remains vulnerable to limitations to access following an emotion-provoking breast cancer diagnosis. Geographical limitation, especially in rural areas, represents a major barrier to access. To date, the application of telemedicine in caring for breast reconstruction patients has not been described in the literature. In this article, we describe the protocol developed and implemented by our academic plastic surgery group to care for new breast reconstruction candidates and discuss the role of telemedicine in improved access to breast reconstruction care.