It's of paramount importance to discuss the surgical and reconstructive options with your surgeon. Remember that it is the surgeon’s duty to provide you with all the relevant information which will enable you to make an informed decision.
Dr. Alexandra Grubnik, a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon with a special interest in reconstructive and aesthetic breast surgery, body contouring and cosmetic surgery, explains that, “Trust is the basis of every patient-doctor relationship and it is built and nurtured through discussion. That’s why you need to spend time with your surgeon and meet with him/her at least twice prior to your intended surgery, making sure you take along a list of questions for discussion each time. Remember that you need to feel comfortable with your choice of surgeon and confident about the reconstructive procedure both of which will go a long way in ensuring that you are happy with your results”.
Dr Grubnik suggests asking the following questions about your surgery - and explains why:
What are my reconstructive options?
There are always various options available and the procedure should be tailored to your own specific needs and desires. Remember that the final decision is yours.
How will my surgery be performed?
You should have an idea of what your planned reconstructive procedure entails. Let the surgeon explain the procedure to you in detail, using diagrams if necessary. Don’t feel embarrassed or scared to ask questions if something is unclear. Fear of the unknown is very common and the more you know and understand the better you’ll be able to handle things.
What is my expected recovery time?
Discuss the duration of your surgery, hospital stay and recovery with your surgeon. It is important to know when you can start showering, driving, get back to work or physical activity, plan a family event or an overseas trip. Wound healing and recovery after surgery varies from patient to patient, but your surgeon should be able to give you an idea of average times from his/her experience.
What are the possible complications?
No surgery can be guaranteed to be uneventful, and although complications are rare, they may happen. It is vital to discuss any possible problems and how to manage them with your doctor. This should not scare you, but rather educate you on what to be aware of, so that if you pick up a problem you can immediately report it to your doctor and work together to successfully manage it.
What aesthetic result can I expect?
This will naturally be first and foremost on your mind. Don’t be shy to ask! What will my reconstructed breasts look like? What will they feel like? Where will the scars be? Your surgeon will explain and should be able to show you photos of other patients to set your mind at ease.
The Discovery Health Medical Scheme is an independent non-profit entity governed by the Medical Schemes Act, and regulated by the Council for Medical Schemes. It is administered by a separate company, Discovery Health (Pty) Ltd, an authorised financial services provider.
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