Q. Am I a good candidate for breast reconstruction?
A. If you have had a mastectomy, or are scheduled to have a mastectomy, you may be a good candidate for breast reconstruction. Many women have this procedure performed to restore their appearance after their breasts are removed. A mastectomy can be difficult for the patient, and many women want to look and feel more feminine after having one or both breasts removed. In these cases, breast reconstruction might be right for you.
Q. Should I use breast implants or flap techniques for my breast reconstruction?
A. Both breast implants and flap reconstruction techniques can be considered for your breast reconstruction. Each procedure has its benefits and drawbacks. If you have had radiation treatment, which can often leave the underlying tissue damaged, flap reconstruction might be better for you. Because flap procedures harvest tissue from your abdomen or back, women with less available tissue might be better served by implants. Dr. Davidson can help recommend the best procedure for you during your consultation.
Q. Is it better to have my breast reconstruction during or after my mastectomy?
A. There are many advantages to having your reconstruction performed concurrently with your mastectomy. Many women prefer to wake up from surgery with their new breasts already in place, skipping the need to deal with the loss of the original breasts. Cancer treatments can be continued even after reconstruction; most women are able to begin chemotherapy within a month of their breast reconstruction. However, because reconstruction requires follow-up treatment as well, some women prefer to wait until after their cancer treatment to begin the reconstruction process. The decision is a highly personal one that should be reached after consulting with Dr. Davidson about all the risks and benefits of each procedure.
Q. Will I still need to have mammograms after my breast reconstruction?
A. The need for mammograms after breast reconstruction will depend on the recommendation of your oncologist and surgical oncologist.
Q. Is breast reconstruction covered by my health insurance?
A. If you have breast reconstruction following a mastectomy, your health insurance company is required by law to cover the procedure and also contralateral symmetry operations. The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1997 guarantees this right. However, most policies require that notice be given before the procedure is performed in order to ensure coverage. In addition, procedures like nipple tattooing may not be covered by your provider.
Q. How can I get the best possible results from my breast reconstruction?
A. As with any surgical procedure, a successful breast reconstruction depends on you selecting an experienced surgeon for your procedure, as well as following all of your doctor's instructions before and after surgery. Dr. Davidson is a highly skilled plastic surgeon specializing in breast procedures. Closely adhering to his recommendations can help ensure that you get the best possible results from your breast reconstruction.