Being told that you have breast cancer or that you have an elevated risk for developing breast cancer can be frightening and overwhelming. As medicine becomes increasingly complex and sophisticated, so are the options for breast reconstruction. That is why a consultation with a plastic surgeon in Richmond who specializes in breast reconstruction surgery is critical to the decision-making process.
How to Choose a Breast Reconstruction Surgeon
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer or you’ve opted to undergo prophylactic mastectomy and reconstruction due to a genetic predisposition for cancer, your breast cancer doctor may recommend a plastic surgeon. We would encourage you to listen to those recommendations.
But if you’re embarking on a search for a breast reconstruction surgeon on your own, here are some tips to help you identify surgeons you can trust:
- Ask trusted friends or physicians for recommendations. If you have a friend, co-worker, or acquaintance who’s been in your situation, ask for help. Or seek out the counsel of your primary care physician or other medical professionals who may have insight into who would be best for you. You’ll form a deeply personal relationship with the surgeon you choose, and the most technically gifted option may not mesh with your personality.
- Evaluate the surgeon’s experience and training in breast reconstruction. A plastic surgeon with a stellar reputation may perform breast reconstruction surgery only rarely. Your surgeon must have relevant experience.
- Ask what type of breast reconstruction technique the surgeon performs most often. There are more breast reconstruction options available today than ever before, and it’s important to know if your surgeon can offer the one best suited for your specific situation. If a surgeon tries to steer you toward a “preferred” technique, you should probably continue your search. Your plastic surgeon should also emphasize that not having reconstruction is a legitimate option.
- Find out if surgeons have completed breast reconstruction or microsurgery fellowships. Fellowship training is invaluable for surgeons performing breast reconstruction. A surgeon who is chosen for and completes an intensive fellowship has extensive experience and training unique to breast reconstruction that other surgeons can’t match.
At UVA Plastic Surgery, you’ll not only have a choice of plastic surgeons who have the breadth of experience and training outlined above, but you’ll also have access to a multidisciplinary team of experts. It’s our experienced team that sets our breast reconstruction center apart from other options in Virginia.
For example, as a research center conducting clinical trials, patients have access to treatment options not available elsewhere. The word to emphasize is options. If you want to pursue an established surgical procedure for breast reconstruction, no one will recommend otherwise. But it’s reassuring to many patients to know that we can accommodate whatever path they want to take.
Ultimately, it’s vital that women undergoing breast reconstruction after mastectomy trust their plastic surgeons and feel comfortable with his or her experience and communication skills.
If you have questions or need more information from a breast reconstruction surgeon in Richmond, we can help. You can contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call us at (434) 924-1234 to schedule an appointment.