What To Expect During Your Consultation
At DAVinci Plastic Surgery, we meet women every day to discuss breast reconstruction. Our patients are often dealing with a new diagnosis of breast cancer and meeting many new doctors to learn about the surgeries and treatments ahead of them. They are understandably overwhelmed. The consultation is an opportunity to make a connection with their plastic surgeon. We are passionate about breast reconstruction and the relationships we build with our patients, so this part is important!
After learning about our patients’ particular breast cancer, their health, and their goals for reconstruction, we share a lot of information about breast reconstruction. The most important message we hope our patients take away from their visit is that breast reconstruction does an incredible job of restoring our patients’ bodies, and we are honored to embark on that process with you.
Breast Cancer: The Specifics
To start, we will learn everything we can about your particular breast cancer. Important questions include:
- What type of mastectomy is planned?
- One side or both?
- Can the nipples be preserved?
- What other treatments are needed?
- Will you need radiation or have you had it previously for a prior breast cancer?
An important factor to consider in planning your breast reconstruction is your overall health.
- What medical conditions do you have?
- What surgeries have you undergone?
- Do you smoke?
The most important influence on this decision-making is your goals. As you learn more about the different types of breast reconstruction, you will have a clearer sense of which fits you best. Things to consider include: are you open to implants? Would you consider surgery on another part of your body to rebuild the breast? How important is recovery time? Are you open to having surgery on the opposite side to balance your result?
The Panorama of Breast Reconstruction
Even when patients have made a decision about their breast reconstruction, we think it is helpful to give a broad overview of the different methods of breast reconstruction. We all feel more confident in our decisions when we have the necessary information.
After learning all this important information about you and examining you, we will make some recommendations about the method of reconstruction that best suits you. The ultimate decision is made together, taking all the different factors into consideration. Patients will often need time to think things over, or will want to meet again to resolve any questions or concerns. We want you to feel confident and comfortable with these important decisions!
Dr. Pinell and Dr. Davison work closely with many breast surgeons in the community, and our offices coordinate surgeries regularly. When you have made your decision, our office will make the arrangements and follow up with you soon.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What do I need to bring to the consultation?
If you know the information below and can relay it during the visit, there is no need to bring a paper record.
- Information about your breast cancer and the type of surgery planned
- Your past medical history and a list of medications
- Any questions you may have
- A support person can provide not only encouragement but also help in remembering the abundant information you will receive
What if I haven’t decided between a lumpectomy and mastectomy? Or about the opposite breast?
- That is ok! Learning about the options for reconstruction may help you in that important decision-making.
What are the different types of mastectomy?
- Mastectomies remove all the glandular breast tissue, but as the operation has evolved over time, surgeons have attempted to preserve more skin and even the nipple-areola complex in order to give the most natural result to the reconstruction.
- A skin-sparing mastectomy removes the nipple, areola, and usually some surrounding skin.
- A nipple-sparing mastectomy preserves all the breast skin and the nipple-areola complex.
Why isn’t the nipple always preserved?
- If the tumor is too close to the nipple, it may not be safe to preserve the nipple. Your breast surgeon will make this determination.
- With some breast shapes or a low nipple position, keeping the nipple may not give the best cosmetic result. In those cases, the nipple can be reconstructed at a future operation.
Do I have to make a decision about my reconstruction during the visit?
- No. We want you to feel comfortable with your decision. If more time to think about it or a follow-up visit help you in that process, we encourage you to take them.
How soon can we schedule surgery?
- We understand the mental and emotional anguish that even a few days delay can cause. We do our best to schedule surgery in the month following your visit. This gives us time to align the surgeons’ schedules and allows for any preoperative preparation, like medical clearance from your doctor.
Is the visit covered by insurance?
- Yes, breast reconstruction surgery and the consultation to learn more about it are covered by insurance.