Why is a plastic surgeon involved in my breast reconstruction in addition to my general surgeon?
When you are diagnosed with breast cancer, your treatment plan will include a team of medical professionals to provide your care. This team might include a primary care physician or gynecologist, general surgeon/breast surgeon, plastic surgeon, oncologist, and a radiologist/radiation oncologist. Your American Society of Plastic Surgeons member surgeon is your partner in cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. The plastic surgeon is trained specifically in reconstructing tissue and is a vital part of your breast reconstruction team.
Our plastic surgeon Dr. William Reynolds is a member of ASPS.
ASPS member surgeons:
- have completed at least five years of surgical training with a minimum of two years in plastic surgery,
- are trained and experienced in plastic surgery procedures, including breast and body reconstruction,
- operate only in accredited medical facilities,
- adhere to a strict code of ethics,
- fulfill continuing medical education requirements, and
- are board-certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery.
What should I expect during my consultation with the plastic surgeon?
It is our practice philosophy that when you are making one of the most personal choices, our breast cancer patients should know that they have a voice and a choice. During your consultation, our plastic surgeon will:
- Evaluate your health status, taking into account any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors.
- Examine your breasts and take measurements of their size and shape, skin quality, and placement of nipples.
- Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment.
- Discuss the potential outcomes of breast reconstruction and any risks or potential complications.
- Our support staff will take photographs for your medical record.
When is the best time to schedule my Breast Reconstruction?
Reconstruction is both physically and emotionally rewarding for a woman who has gone through mastectomy due to breast cancer. Restoring the breast shape after a mastectomy can dramatically improve self-image and confidence. It is important for you to feel ready for the emotional adjustment that is involved in breast reconstruction. You should take your time after your consultation with your plastic surgeon before you choose to go forward with breast reconstruction. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit into some sort of image seen in the media.
What steps are involved in Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is performed to restore the breast to near normal shape, appearance, size and symmetry following a mastectomy. Breast reconstruction involves several procedures that are performed in stages. The reconstruction procedures may either begin at the time of mastectomy or be delayed until a later date. Listed below is an example of the steps (there are additional options to these that will be explained by the plastic surgeon):
- expander:Following the mastectomy, a tissue expander is placed creating a pocket to hold the permanent silicone or saline implant.
- expansion of the expander:Expansion is begun a few weeks after the expander is placed. This is done in a series of office visits.
- breast implant:Once the expansion is complete, the expander is exchanged for the permanent breast implant.
- surgery on the opposite breast:Achieving symmetry with the newly reconstructed breast may be done through a breast reduction, breast lift, or breast enlargement with an implant.
- nipple areola reconstruction: Creating the nipple areola is the final surgical component to breast reconstruction, involving the formation of a nipple mound.
- nipple areola tattooing:The finishing touch to breast reconstruction is having your nipple areola tattooed, which is a simple procedure. This is performed at the tattoo artist of patient’s choice.
What are my costs?
Breast reconstruction surgery is covered by most insurance policies, although coverage for specific procedures and levels of coverage vary greatly. Health plans that cover mastectomies are required to offer post-mastectomy and reconstructive surgery benefits. You will want to check with your insurance provider to find out your remaining deductible to be met for the year and to find out which services are covered.