I made appointments for consults with the three plastic surgeons. Not being too familiar with the procedure, I made a list of the questions that immediately popped into my head. Then I made Google my new best friend. After many hours online and a ton of information and photos, most of my general questions were answered. I narrowed it down to the ones that were more specific for me (I now know the answers, so including them as well):
- Which procedure would be best for me? Nipple-sparing bilateral mastectomy with two-stage breast reconstruction.
- What are the risks for that type of procedure? Nipple or breast tissue necrosis, infections, seroma, capsular contracture – NSFW, ruptures, rippling, cosmetic issues.
- Can I see before-and-after photos of previous patients/work?
- What is the time frame for the whole process, from start to finish? Up to six months if there are no serious complications.
- Which hospital?
- What would be expected of me? Get educated, prepare self and home for recovery, focus on the positive.
- What are the surgeon’s qualification and experience?
The point of the consults was to determine who I would like to work with if I wanted to move forward. I remember thinking “How can I decide based on a 30 minute conversation? What should I really consider?” I met with all three of the surgeons recommended. After talking it over with my husband and doing some more Googling, I decided I wanted to work with Dr. M. I based this on a bunch of different things including years of experience, the details we discussed, his demeanor, our “chemistry,” the before-and-after photos of his patients (many binders of them), and the fact that he is well known for DIEP flap reconstruction, which is very complicated and requires microsurgery, so this one should be easy, right?
I already had a breast surgeon, I just picked the plastic surgeon, now all I needed to do was to schedule it.