Reconstruction After a Mastectomy
Breast reconstruction is a welcome option to women who have lost a breast due to cancer treatment or other causes.
Timing of breast surgery for cancer and reconstruction should be left to the oncologist for patients facing a difficult choice due to the complex nature of the surgical procedure. Extensive consultation should be obtained to determine the most suitable procedure for the condition.
Preparing a list of questions for your breast surgeon and plastic surgeon can go a long way toward assuring the best possible quality of life after surgery.
To make the most of a consultation with your plastic surgeon, you should make a list of your reconstructive goals. This list will serve as a reference during your initial appointment and contribute to planning for your overall treatment and surgeries. At the Clinique of Plastic Surgery, we employ the best practices for planning and discussing reconstructive surgeries – we will address your goals honestly and establish what is realistic and what is not. Every member of your team of doctors from your breast surgeon to your radiation oncologist needs to be on board with the aesthetic goals for reconstruction that you establish with your plastic surgeon. If all of your doctors work together, you can create a “dream team” that can provide a coordinated plan, an important step toward making your reconstructive goals a reality.
Putting together a list of goals may be easier for some than others. Ask yourself what you want to get out of reconstruction. Achieving symmetry? Matching your other breast? Having breasts that are larger or smaller than they were before? Your aesthetic goals should be your goals for the best aesthetic outcome. Dr. Drehsen will provide expert guidance on what is achievable, and what is not.
Along with your goals, you should also have a list of questions. For example:
- Which type of reconstruction are you the best candidate for? What are the risks and benefits of this procedure?
- Will this procedure support achieving your reconstructive goals?
- How many surgeries are involved with this procedure?
- What are the complications that can arise from this type of procedure? What are the rates of infection and related concerns?
- What are the lifetime maintenance requirements?
- How many times has your surgeon performed this procedure? How many failures have they had?
- Ask to see before and after photos.
You will walk away with a connection and feedback that will prepare you and help achieve the best possible outcome. Knowing that you are on the same page with your doctor will reduce anxiety and contribute to a healthy, positive outlook for the future.