Saturday, September 24, 2011 8:14 PM
Holly, it's a good thing to take your time when deciding about reconstruction. I learned a lot about the--the hard way, unfortunately. I ended up having it done three time--something that I could have avoided if I'd done my homework (granted, it was not so easy back in 1988 without the Internet) and really paid attention to red flags with the first two surgeons I chose. Luckily, for me, three was a charm, and I found an excellent surgeon who was able to give me a really good result despite the damage done by the other surgeons. So, I think the bottom line is to really look around, ask other women who they used, and not to be hesitant to really interview potential plastic surgeons. Remember--you're buying a service from them.
I'm going to paste in below some of my thoughts about finding a plastic surgeon. I wrote this a while back and repost it from time to time. I hope there's something there that you'll find useful. Take care.
Every so often I post something about this because it's so important and I want those of you who are newer to the board to read it. Some of us have had horrendous experiences with reconstruction. I don't think it's the norm, thank goodness, but it still happens. Lately, there seem to be more posts than usual from women who've had terrible results and are not sure where to turn. It took me three tries to finally get a result I am happy with. And, as my newest and wonderful plastic surgeon said, if I'd found her the first time through, I'd look much better than I do. So, how do you find a great plastic surgeon? I don't know of a foolproof formula, but there are some things you can--no, should--do. 1) Don't assume that you have to go to the one who was recommended by your general surgeon or other doctor. This might be a good way, but don't assume that the ps will be excellent just because your other doctor sent you there. 2) Don't choose a ps based on location. Yes, it would be more convenient to have your surgery done in your town, but you want the best, even if that means traveling there. My first botched surgery was in my town; my second botched surgery was 80 miles away; and my successful surgery was 120 miles away, in San Francisco. I had a hip to hip incision, drains, and the works, and I had to travel back and forth once a week for a while to see my ps. It was difficult, but it was worth it. 3) Ask the women here for recommendations. Ask other women you know for recommendations. Ask what they liked about the doctor. Ask about their results. Ask if you can see before and after photos. 4) When you interview (yes, interview! You are hiring the doctor, and you're in the driver's seat) the doctor, find out how many of the procedure you're having he or she has done. This is crucial. It doesn't guarantee excellence, but it does at least indicate experience. Ask to see all available before and after photos of his/her work. Ask if there are any previous clients you can talk to about their results. Naturally, they won't steer you to anyone who was dissatisfied, but you'll get a sense of how open the doctor is about letting you review his/her work. 5) Use the Internet. Research the doctors you're considering. See if you can find any complaints against the doctor or any positive comments. See if your doctor has written anything or been interviewed. When I chose my ps in San Francisco, a Web search told me more about her training (she had trained with the man who pioneered the tram flap procedure), her attitude toward plastic surgery, her understanding of the what the natural female breast looks like (she did a study at Stanford using volunteers who had their breasts measured and mapped).
Rena age 63 California Central Coast
Dx 1986 IDC ER/PR negative 22 positive lymph nodes
CMFVP chemo weekly for one year, 7 weeks radiation
October 2007: New chassis and spark plugs!