After mastectomy, many women choose to undergo breast reconstruction surgery.
Breast reconstruction surgery doesn’t only have aesthetic benefits, it also provides a significant, positive impact on women’s self-esteem and quality of life.
For most women, the highest difficulty they face when going through the process of breast reconstruction is finding the best breast reconstruction surgeon in their area.
What are the top things to consider when looking for a breast reconstruction surgeon? If you’re from Texas and you’re looking for the best Dallas breast reconstruction specialists, you’re going to want to read on.
Credentials give you an idea of the extent of skill that a surgeon has. The best reconstruction surgeons are board-certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or the American Board of Medical Specialties.
According to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), it is important to choose a surgeon that has completed the certification requirements of their country. Members of the ASPS meet very strict standards (1):
- Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery® (ABPS)
- Complete at least six years of surgical training following medical school with a minimum of three years of plastic surgery residency training
- Pass comprehensive oral and written exams
- Graduate from an accredited medical school
- Complete continuing medical education, including patient safety, each year
- Perform surgery in accredited, state-licensed, or Medicare-certified surgical facilities
There are different types of breast reconstruction procedures. Today’s women have more reconstruction options, including implant reconstruction and tissue flap procedure (autologous tissue reconstruction). The most common types of tissue flap procedures are (2):
- TRAM (transverse rectus abdominis muscle) flap – uses abdominal muscles.
- DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap – also uses abdominal muscles, but only the fat and skin are removed.
- Latissimus dorsi flap – makes use of muscle and fat from the upper back.
- GAP (gluteal artery perforator) flap – makes use of tissue from the buttocks.
The DIEP flap is now considered the gold-standard in breast reconstruction technique. The procedure uses tissue from the patient’s abdominal area to recreate the breast. Compared to breast implants, tissue flaps generally behave more like natural breast tissue, and have a more natural look and feel.
It is important to discuss your breast reconstruction procedure options with your surgeon of choice. This is because the best reconstruction surgeon for you is one who is well-versed with the procedure that will suit your unique needs and situation.
For example, a DIEP procedure requires skill and extensive experience not just in plastic surgery or reconstructive surgery, but also in microsurgery, since it requires having to reattach tissues and blood vessels.
Keep in mind that it may be difficult to find a plastic surgeon who offers and excels at every type of reconstruction procedure there is. This is why it’s important to get in touch not only with a single surgeon, but a team of breast reconstruction surgeons.
3. Ease of communication and good working relationship
Breastcancer.org (3) suggests scheduling an initial consultation with the surgeons you are considering. This way, you may bring up questions that you have about your reconstruction procedure. Ask your questions freely, especially if you don’t understand something. By doing this, you are opening up the communication lines and establishing a good relationship with your doctor.
To help you make an informed decision, asking questions such as these might help:
- Am I a good candidate for breast reconstruction?
- When can I have the procedure done?
- Will the procedure interfere with radiation therapy or chemotherapy?
- What reconstruction options do I have?
- Can you go over the benefits and risks of each option?
- Will my insurance cover the reconstruction procedure?
- What results can I expect?
- How long will the healing process be?
- Will I have any sensation/feeling in my reconstructed breasts?
- What changes can I expect to the reconstructed breast over time?
- Can you provide me with photos of typical/realistic results?
Be sure to get all your questions answered. Your surgeon should be able to go over all your options in detail so that you know as much as you can about what to expect. Remember, breast reconstruction surgery is not a quick and easy procedure, contrary to what some people believe.
If you are looking for the best breast reconstruction surgeon for you, consider Breast Reconstruction Associates. They are a team of Dallas breast reconstruction surgeons who not only have high skills and credentials, but also have high regard for quality patient care.
(1) “How Do I Choose a Plastic Surgeon for Breast Reconstruction?” American Society of Plastic Surgeons, www.plasticsurgery.org/reconstructive-procedures/breast-reconstruction/surgeon.
(2) “Types of Breast Reconstruction.” Breast Cancer Now, March 2018, www.breastcancernow.org/information-support/facing-breast-cancer/living-beyond-breast-cancer/types-breast-reconstruction.
(3) “Finding a Qualified Plastic Surgeon.” BreastCancer.Org, 6 April 2018, www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/reconstruction/finding-surgeon.