Getting diagnosed with breast cancer is a life-shattering moment. Not only can it cause serious damage to the breast tissue itself, but the radiation and chemotherapy used to treat your cancer can leave you bald, weak, and immunocompromised. Even worse, if you’ve had a mastectomy to prevent your cancer from metastasizing, then you may feel like you’ve lost a bit of yourself.
Breast reconstruction surgery can help you recover your self-esteem. However, before you go under the knife, make sure you ask your plastic surgeon these five questions:
1. How Much Will This Cost?
Let’s face it: for many of us, cost features in the front of our mind. Figuring out whether or not your insurance will cover your breast reconstruction can give you an idea of what your options might be.
Ask your surgeon whether or not they accept insurance or offer payment plans. Cancer treatments are expensive enough without undertaking even more debt to reconstruct your breasts.
2. Are You An Experienced Plastic Surgeon?
This may seem like a silly question, but it should be one of the first ones that you ask any breast reconstruction service. Not every plastic surgeon specializes in working with breast tissue. Even fewer specialize in helping cancer patients with their body’s specific needs. Make sure to ask your plastic surgeon about their experience level, both in general and with this particular procedure.
3. How Long Will It Take to Recover?
After you’ve had your surgery, you’ll need to know how long you’ll be out of commission. Knowing your recovery time will save you frustration with your employer and help prevent you from pushing yourself too hard too soon. The last thing you want is to injure yourself from going on a massive ski trip right after your plastic surgery.
4. Will My Breast Retain Sensation?
This is an important question that you need to ensure your plastic surgeon can answer to your satisfaction. In complicated surgical procedures with more damaged breast tissue, retaining sensation may prove difficult. You’ll need to see how much experience your surgeon has with micro-neurorrhaphy, a surgical procedure intended to reconnect the damaged nerves.
5. Am I a Good Candidate for Breast Reconstruction?
You should ask this question early on, as it informs whether reconstructive surgery is an option for you at all. Ask your doctor about your overall health, expected outcomes, and any contraindications that you may have. If breast reconstruction can’t help you, or if there are too many other complicated health factors that prevent surgery, then you can use that time and money to research other options.
A Mastectomy Isn’t the End of the World
Suffering from breast cancer and having a mastectomy can feel like you’ve lost something crucial to yourself. However, with the help of these five questions above, you can find the best plastic surgeon to help you recover your self-image.
If you have more questions about breast reconstruction surgery or plastic surgery in general, check out the Health and Beauty sections of our blog for more articles like this one.