What You Really Need to Know about Cancer

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

20 Questions to ask from your plastic surgeon before breast reconstruction surgery


breast reconstruction surgeryMost of the patients who are diagnosed for cancer are supposed to undergo a surgery in order to remove the tumor. Similarly, more than 95% of breast cancer patients are supposed to undergo mastectomy or partial mastectomy (often depends on size of tumor). A new study shows that after mastectomy or during mastectomy 89% of patient want to see what reconstruction results would look like before starting treatment.. This is a pretty huge percentage of cases among breast cancer patients. In this article would like to focus on 20 most important questions that very breast reconstruction patient needs to ask from plastic surgeon before breast reconstruction surgery.

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1. Can I have breast reconstruction?

Ask from your surgeon whether breast reconstruction can be done, before you decide to have breast reconstruction surgery. Surgeon will decide whether you’re clinically eligible to undergo the surgery.

2. When can I have reconstruction done?

There are two types of breast reconstruction surgeries for breast cancer patients. They are:


One-stage immediate breast reconstruction:
One-stage immediate breast reconstruction is done at the time of mastectomy. After the general surgeon removes the cancer tissues or tumors, and the whole effected area, the plastic surgeon carry on the breast implant procedure or breast reconstruction surgery.

Two-stage delayed reconstruction
Sometimes if you're supposed to undergo radiation therapy, breast implant cannot be done at the time of mastectomy. You have to wait until radiation therapy is completed. Your plastic surgeon will decide what type of surgery you have to undergo.

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3. What types of reconstruction could I have?

Plastic surgeon will decide based on the size of tissue removed and also whether you need to undergo radiation therapy after biopsy report. Based on these two steps surgeon will decide type of reconstruction, whether it is one-stage immediate breast reconstruction or two-stage delayed reconstruction.

4.What’s the average cost of each type? Will my insurance cover them?

The fees and charges depend on the quality of services and expertise. Before deciding, seek opinion from your surgeon. Same as the way you find your oncologist, do a small research on hospitals which provide better breast reconstruction surgeries.

5. What type of reconstruction do you think would be best for me? Why?

Surgeon will decide what type of breast reconstruction surgery you have to undergo based on several factors like, natural breast size, skin tone, chest wall muscles, size of tumor, spread of cancer cells to tissues, etc.

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breast reconstruction surgery 6. How many of these procedures have you (plastic surgeon) done?

Ask from your plastic surgeon about his professional experience in breast implant surgery. Because you’re taking a risk, and of course, everybody wants to get the best expertise on the field.

7. What results can I expect?

Clarify this question from your plastic surgeon about the outcomes of the surgery. Know the advantages and disadvantages of breast reconstruction surgery.

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8.Will the reconstructed breast match my other breast?

Many cancer patient worry about the size of their breast after reconstruction surgery. This is a very important question you need ask from your surgeon.

9. How will my reconstructed breast feel to the touch?

The consistency, firmness or stiffness or softness depends on the materials used for breast implantation. Ask your surgeon what kind of gel they would probably be using for breast reconstruction.

10. Will I have any feeling in my reconstructed breast?

Probably, a good question to ask from your plastic surgeon. Would there be any feeling like before in your reconstructed breast?

11. What possible problems should I know about?

As mentioned before whoever undergo breast reconstruction surgery, it is always wise to know ups and downs of the surgery before deciding. The possible risk factors and side effects of the surgery.

12. Will there be pain, scars, or other changes in the parts of my body the tissue is taken from (if using a tissue flap)?

breast reconstruction surgery
Most of the time during breast reconstruction a flap tissues is used to reconstruct the breast. Often tissue is taken from the gluteal region. Ask from your surgeon whether there would be a scar and pain in that region.

13. How much discomfort or pain will I feel?

Of course, every surgery patient would be having pain, but the pain depends on the size of the surgery. Whether it is a minor surgery or a major surgery. Ask from your surgeon about the pain after breast reconstruction surgery.

14. How long will it take me to recover?

In general surgical cases, various factors effects the recovery of the patient, including patient’s age, immunity, type of surgery, etc. Ask from your surgeon how long it would take to recover from the surgery.

15. Will I have a drain (tube that lets fluid out of the wound) when I go home?

After every surgery there would be fluid accumulation in the surgical area or wound, to collect those fluid surgeon put a tube which will drain the fluid. It is good to ask from your surgeon whether there would be a tube when you’re discharged to home.

16.How much help will I need at home to take care of my drain and wound?

If you’re discharged with drain tube, you should know how to take care of that tube. Ask from your plastic surgeon and clarify how to take care of tube.

17. When can I start my exercises?

In general surgical cases, surgeon would decide when the patient can do the exercise. Some patients are supposed to take bed rest for certain time period. Similarly, in breast reconstruction surgery you may need to get complete rest for certain period.

18. Will reconstruction interfere with chemotherapy?

This is a good question to ask from your plastic surgeon as well as from your oncologist before deciding to undergo breast reconstruction surgery.

19.How will aging affect the reconstructed breast?

What would happen to the reconstructed breast when you get old? Would it be like a normal breast and would there be any aging effects? These are few questions you would probably ask from your plastic surgeon

20. What happens if I gain or lose weight?

Sometimes when you gain weight or lose weight there may be some changes to breast size or tissues. You have to ask from your surgeon the possible changes to reconstructed breast if you gain weight or lose weight.

Hope these 20 tips are helpful.

  2 comments:

  1. Excellent, but you may want to add, "Will radiation interfere with my reconstruction?" and "What are the average number of revision surgeries required to arrive at a desired cosmetic outcome?"

    ReplyDelete
  2. If the patient is under radiation therapy, she cant have breast reconstruction surgery, and she has to wait until radiation therapy is done completely. Because radiation may damage reconstruction and affect final cosmetic results, and for the second question i would llike to say it depends on the type of cosmetic surgery.

    ReplyDelete

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