How Should I Prepare for Breast Reconstruction

There are many different medical issues that can be addressed with plastic surgery, from relatively minor skin tightening and facial rejuvenation to extremely complex facial reconstruction and body contouring procedures. While all of these procedures can potentially make profound differences in patients’ lives, one that many plastic surgeons cite as having the greatest emotional impact is breast reconstruction. For nearly fifty years, Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. has been recognized throughout the medical community as one of the premier centers for breast reconstruction surgery in the Southeast, and we fully understand that dealing with breast cancer can be emotionally devastating. We also know that our patients have much more positive outcomes when they take the time to understand what to expect. In the first of this two-part series, we will go over the things that a breast cancer patient should do in order to prepare for breast reconstruction surgery.

Learn About Your Procedure

preparing-for-breast-reconstructionThere are actually many different ways to perform breast reconstruction. Some methods involve the use of artificial breast implants, not unlike those used in routine breast augmentation surgery, while others rely on natural tissue flaps. The particular technique that your surgeon uses will depend on your individual cancer diagnosis, method of treatment, and personal aesthetic preferences. Ignorance breeds anxiety, so don’t be afraid to ask questions about what your surgeon plans to do and why. Having a detailed and candid discussion with your plastic surgeon will help you to understand exactly what is going to be done and to anticipate what you might need during recovery.

Understand Your Surgery Costs

Health insurance policies will usually cover most or all of the cost of breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy, but this is not always the case. Individual plans will vary and rules regarding coverage can sometimes change unexpectedly. Make sure to speak with a representative about the details of your policy to make sure you are covered, and find out what portion of the bill you’ll be expected to pay. Also, see if there are any limits on what types of reconstruction are covered. Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. also can provide additional patient financing for breast reconstruction through Care Credit® and Alphaeon™ Credit, and offers alternative bill pay options to assist you.

Prepare Yourself Physically

Any form of surgery is going to take a toll on the body, but there are certain things that you can do, ahead of time, to help encourage your natural healing factors and make your recovery go smoothly. Patients who are overweight, underweight, or who have preexisting health conditions (like high blood pressure) may be at higher risk for post-surgical complications. Before breast reconstruction surgery, make an effort to get as close to your ideal weight as possible by eating nutritiously and exercising regularly. Refrain from smoking, as it can compromise lung function and blood flow and potentially slow the healing process. Also try to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and any other products that can adversely affect blood clotting, like Motrin, Vitamin E, and many herbal supplements, as these can also impede your recovery. Your surgeon will provide you with a complete list of substances that you should avoid along with your post-operative instructions. Don’t hesitate to call if you are unsure or have any additional questions.

Stay tuned in the coming months, when we will talk about the things that you should do after your breast reconstruction procedure in order to help ensure optimal results. If you would like to learn more about the options available at Atlanta Plastic Surgery, please contact Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. so that we can schedule an appointment, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news.