Welcome to the "Where to Begin" section of the site. If you're interested in beginning your breast reconstruction journey, here are some good steps to consider.
First, it's very important that you talk to your breast surgeon. As you evaluate your treatment plan for breast cancer, discuss breast reconstruction as well. This way, parts of your treatment plan can accommodate for your reconstruction, and proper measures can be taken around any therapy you may need – for example, radiation and chemotherapy.
Next, explore and gather referrals for plastic surgeons. If your breast surgeon hasn't referred you to a plastic surgeon, you can search for them online or ask other women you know who have had breast reconstruction after mastectomy. You can also use our Doctor Finder feature to identify plastic surgeons in your area. It may be beneficial to gather several names of plastic surgeons, so that you can make the most informed choice of surgeon for your particular situation.
With a list of potential plastic surgeons in mind, you may want to set up consultations with several, if not all of them. In addition to questions you may already have written down, also consider taking our list of suggested Questions to Ask Your Doctor.
Also, it's a good idea to consult your insurance carrier to understand your insurance coverage and the healthcare providers that are covered by your plan. Please visit the Insurance Information section of our site to help guide you through this process.
During the consultations, it is important to tell the plastic surgeons about your habits, hobbies, medical history and any medications that you currently take. It's also important to mention your breast surgeon when you meet with the plastic surgeon so you can understand whether or not they've worked together in the past. If they have worked together in the past, this may help facilitate better communication and coordination between your doctors.
The consultation process should help you identify and choose the surgeon that best understands your needs and lifestyle.
Once you've chosen your plastic surgeon, be sure to ask them about all of your breast reconstruction options. You'll find more information on this topic in the Breast Reconstruction Options section of this site.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option with your plastic surgeon, in order to understand which one is right for you. Also, discuss the recovery process to make sure you are prepared before breast reconstruction surgery. You may also want to review the What to Expect section of this site to help prepare yourself.
If you do all of this, it will help prepare you for what lies ahead.