Breast reconstructive surgery can take a heavy toll – even before it happens. It is a very emotionally charged event that can leave patients feeling both spent and relieved once it’s over. Nothing could be worse than discovering that the procedure didn’t give you the results you were expecting. This is an unfortunate tale that happens more often than you would expect. In most cases, there are 3 main variables which will determine whether you are thrilled or mortified by the results. Fortunately, you can significantly influence or control all of them.
1. Choose the Right Plastic Surgeon
Nothing is more important than choosing the right person to handle this delicate craft. The worst thing you can do is simply flip open the yellow pages and choose the provider with the biggest or flashiest ad. There are a few things you can do to make sure you make a sound decision. First, you must only consider board certified plastic surgeons. Ideally, they should be involved with multiple plastic surgery or aesthetics-related organizations. This ensures they are up to date on the latest techniques and have an in-depth knowledge about their practice. Second, you should always take the time to get to know your surgeon. Remember, they are competing for your business, not the other way around. It is vital that you choose someone who is well-trained and that you trust 100%.
2. Choose the Right Type of Breast Reconstructive Surgery
If you have already done some research then you may already know the different options available to you. They fall into two basic categories – implants and tissue flaps. Breast implants are typically filled with saline rather than silicone. Saline breast implants are much safer than silicone implants because your body can naturally absorb the sterile solution in the event something happens.
Using a flap of tissue from another part of your body has become a popular option as well. This is because the breast reconstruction materials are your own muscle, blood vessels, and skin. The most common methods are TRAM and Dorsi flaps. TRAM flap breast reconstructive surgery may not be possible if you have already undergone an abdomen surgery because those surgeries may have weakened it. Micro surgery will be needed to reattach the blood vessels. Dorsi flap breast reconstruction surgery utilizes materials from your lower back. It is tunneled under your skin, which allows the blood vessels to remain attached to their original blood supply. The recovery time for both of these options can be significantly longer than implants because they require a more invasive surgery.
3. Choosing the Right Time to Have Breast Reconstructive Surgery
Your final important decision is when to have the surgery itself. In many cases, getting breast reconstructive surgery at the same time as your mastectomy is beneficial. It can spare you the emotional trauma of seeing yourself without a breast. It also eliminates the need for you to undergo a second major surgery and hospitalization. The second option is to delay the surgery a few weeks or even months following your mastectomy.
There is no time limit, so take all the time you need. In most cases, it is considered preferable if you take care of your breast reconstructive surgery immediately, but not at the cost of your own level of comfort and preparation. If you are not ready, never rush into a major decision such as choosing a plastic surgeon and deciding what type of reconstructive surgery you want.