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Paying your Breast Awareness forward

by Aaron Capuano, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Oct. 19, 2017, 4:30 p.m.

Because October is the month dedicated to Breast Cancer awareness we wanted to share a little insider information about Breast Reconstruction and how the team you put together for breast reconstruction can further your end result with regard to the cosmetic nature of your breasts. 

Primarily, we want to eradicate the cancer, which we know is everyone's concern.  Though there may be a time when you are post mastectomy and post recovery when you find out more information then you once knew, that you may have been able to have a better aesthetic outcome.  We often hear new patients saying, "I wish I knew", this information prior to surgery.

As it is, we have patients who come to us who have suffered through the challenges of Breast Cancer and Breast Reconstruction; thankfully those patients can come and say they are healthy or in remission.  Most Breast Cancer patients are satisfied with that and rightfully so.  The ones who come to us as new patients, post mastectomy, voice this complaint. They say they often suffer from pain as a result of their surgeries or that they expected more from their breast recontruction as far as the cosmetic result is concerned.  

Results in Breast Cancer survivors varies greatly and even in the most experienced hands things can turn out different from what was initially planned, as complications are real and do occur. It is how the complications are handled and what steps were taken preceding surgery and following surgery that can sometimes effect how the cosmetic result looks in the end.

The best way to avoid having to say, "I wish I knew" is to make sure that both your breast surgeon and plastic surgeon are good at what they do but also that they communicate well with one another.  Meaning you have surgeons and doctors who perform these surgeries regulary and are fully boarded within their respective medical societies. 

Once you have either chosen a breast surgeon or Plastic Surgeon, you must make sure that they coordinate the plan for surgery.  This seems like an obvious point but from a plastic surgeon's perspective, the end result can be directly affected by the operation that precedes the reconstruction, the breast dissection.  This is a common practice by many surgeons, so it isn't an unknown but there are still plenty of surgeons who leave that portion of the procedure left unspoken. Since they are technically two surgeries that are separate it is acceptable for this to be the case.  When a patient comes to Dr. Capuano for any procedure they are treated like family, as such our doctor will make sure that every level of concern is addressed with all doctors and family members until the patient is comfortable, this communication is an integral part of the process, so that the patients expectations can be set appropriately and she can be left with optimal results.  

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