This week, Richard M. Kline, Jr., MD of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.
Question: I’ve had implants since a 2004 mastectomy following breast cancer diagnosis. I’m healthy, but feel that my implants have shifted and I’m considering a redo. I live in Colorado, and wonder how the system works for out of town patients. How many trips are required to have reconstruction with your docs?
Answer: By “considering a redo,” I’m assuming you mean replacing your implants with your own natural tissue.
Our P.A. Audrey and N.P. Lindsey spend a lot of time on the phone with out-of-town patients (and their local health care providers) before we ever see them, making sure that nothing important is overlooked before you make the trip. I recommend that at some point you and I also have a phone consultation, so that you will have an opportunity to directly ask me any questions you wish. We usually see you for the first time the day before surgery. On that morning, you get an MRI angiogram at Imaging Specialists of Charleston, then bring the disc to our office to help us plan your flap. We operate the next morning, and you usually spend 4 nights in the hospital. We recommend that you stay in town another 5 nights, if possible, although this is not absolutely required.
We actually discourage you coming back for follow-up visits, as travel is a significant risk factor for blood clots, which is a risk of the surgery (as it is for many other surgeries). If you have a local health care provider who can help with drain management (plastic surgeon, breast surgeon, primary care, etc.) that is helpful, but certainly not essential. We stay in close contact with you via telephone and secure messaging to manage your post operative period. You’ll send updates and photos on a routine basis and discuss your progress with our clinical staff.
Most of the time it will take at least 2-3 surgeries to complete the reconstructive process. If you are not radiated, these can be done as closely as 3 months apart (although they can be delayed as long as you wish). None of the subsequent surgeries are anywhere near as big as the initial surgery, and usually you can get by with just two nights in Charleston.
Hope this is helpful, and I hope I get the opportunity to meet you.
Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!