Breast reconstruction surgery: questions to ask your plastic surgeon

So you’ve had or are planning to have a mastectomy. If you’ve decided to have breast reconstruction, you’ll need a plastic surgeon on your team. Just like with your breast surgeon, you’ll want to speak with them well before you’re on the operating table so you can make sure they are a good fit.

For me, these are the absolute most important questions to ask a plastic surgeon before you do breast reconstruction surgery.

  1. How often do you do implant reconstruction?
  2. How often do you do alloderm/ADM assisted reconstruction?
  3. How often do you do flap reconstruction? (and what kind—DIEP, TRAM, etc.)
  4. How often do you do reconstruction following a nipple-sparing mastectomy? (or whatever kind of mastectomy you have undergone)
  5. Do you do fat transfer?
  6. How many of your patients opt for revision surgeries?
  7. Do you have a portfolio of reconstructive results that you can show me? See if they have photos that are specific to YOUR situation and YOUR method of reconstruction, so you can get a sense of potential outcomes.
  8. Can you refer me to previous patients of yours who would be willing to speak about their experience?
  9. In a given week, how many reconstructions do you do and what types?

Ultimately, you have 3 goals in your consultation with a plastic surgeon. You’re there to determine:

  1. If they have the training and experience to do the job well
  2. If they have the ability to achieve the results you want
  3. If they treat you with respect and listen to your desires and concerns

Breast reconstruction is an art and a science. Your perfect surgeon should be dedicated to both. If you’re not feeling that dedication, it’s time to move on to a new surgeon. It’s as simple as that.

Remember—you and your reconstructive plastic surgeon are partners in this process. And ultimately, they will be working for you. Treat your consultation like a job interview, and the surgeon is the candidate.

Did I miss any important questions that absolutely must be asked before committing to a reconstructive breast surgeon? Please let me know in the comments!

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