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Six Questions to Ask Your Surgeon Before Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Breast Reconstruction Surgery

For many women, a lumpectomy or mastectomy can be a necessary and life-saving procedure.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that the loss of breast tissue caused by these procedures can impact the feeling of self-confidence and positive self-image.

A breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that restores the shape, symmetry, and volume of the affected breast or breasts after tissue loss caused by breast cancer treatment, trauma, or a congenital breast deformity. Many patients find that this procedure can restore a sense of confidence and comfort in their own bodies.

If you are wondering whether breast construction might be right for you, you should start by requesting a consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon. 

Here are five important questions to ask your surgeon as you weigh your options.

1. Which type of reconstruction is best for my situation?

Women who have undergone surgery to treat breast cancer have several options for breast reconstruction surgery. 

When deciding which option is best in your situation, you should consult with a plastic surgeon to discuss important factors such as your overall health and personal preferences. By exploring the options available, you are more likely to be satisfied with the result.

Breast reconstruction options

There are several options available for breast reconstruction surgery.

Breast reconstruction procedures may be performed using either implants, fat transfers from another part of the body, or complex tissue transplants known as autologous breast reconstructions. 

Each of these options comes with its own set of potential benefits, and some procedures may be better suited to your body type, situation, and aesthetic goals than others. Before making decisions, you should consult with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon. They can guide you through the different options and help you identify the best procedure for your goals.

2. What is the recovery process like for breast reconstruction?

Regardless of the type of procedure you choose, most patients can expect to return home within the first few days after surgery. 

Over the first two weeks, you can expect to feel some soreness and tiredness. Your plastic surgeon can provide you with medication to ease any pain and discomfort during this period.

You can expect to resume most of your normal daily activities within six to eight weeks, and your scars will heal and fade over the next year. 

To ensure optimal recovery, you will need to avoid strenuous lifting and other intense exercises for at least four to six weeks, and you should ask your surgeon for advice on when you can return to wearing ordinary bras. This will depend on the methods used in your surgery. 

Eating a healthy diet, refraining from smoking, and carefully following your surgeon’s post-operative directions will also help to ensure the smoothest possible recovery.

3. Will reconstruction interfere with my cancer treatment?

IIf you want to go ahead with the breast reconstruction procedure, you need to first get a thorough consultation with your surgeon. May be a simple breast lift would be all that you need rather than going for implants. This is why before you make up your mind on the procedure, first discuss the same with the professionals. 

While a breast reconstruction will not interfere with common cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, these treatments may have an impact on when and how the reconstruction surgery is performed. 

An experienced surgeon can work with you to ensure the most optimal timing for your breast reconstruction surgery.

4. What are the potential risks of breast reconstruction surgery?

Under the guidance of an experienced plastic surgeon, breast reconstruction is generally a safe procedure.

However, as with any surgery, there are potential risks both during and after the operation. Potential complications may include:

  • Blood clotting
  • Bleeding
  • A build-up of fluid in the breast, along with pain and swelling
  • Infection of the surgical site
  • Delays or complications with the healing of the wound

Before undergoing a breast reconstruction, be sure to talk to your plastic surgeon about any health risks you may face. Your surgeon will be able to guide you through the possible complications and assist you if you experience any issues during the recovery process.

Also, Check – Benefits of Physical Therapy for Breast Cancer Patients

5. What is the average cost of breast reconstruction?

A federal law passed in 1998, known as The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act, requires group health insurance plans covering mastectomies to provide coverage for breast reconstruction surgery.

Because of this, breast reconstruction surgery following a lumpectomy or mastectomy is considered a reconstructive procedure and is typically covered by health insurance. Be aware, however, that your plan may only cover a portion of the total cost. Many great surgeons are  out-of-network providers and therefore may not accept your insurance. Consult with your surgeon’s coordinator to discuss how insurance may impact your out-of-pocket costs.

Otherwise, the overall cost of breast reconstruction may vary depending on the methods used, the experience of the surgeon, and the specifics of your situation. An experienced plastic surgeon can help you understand the costs associated with your procedure and what amount of the cost is likely to be covered by your insurance.

6. How to find the right surgeon for breast reconstruction

If you are considering having a breast reconstruction procedure, you should look for an experienced plastic surgeon who has been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. These surgeons will have the necessary training and experience to answer any questions you may have.  Some surgeons have even further fellowship training specifically in complex breast reconstruction techniques.

You should also ensure that your surgeon has a robust portfolio of before-and-after images, so you can view their previous work before you choose to trust them with your surgery. A surgeon who prioritizes clear communication is also more likely to offer the support you need both before and after your procedure.

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