What questions should I ask my plastic surgeon, and how does Dr. Linville answer these?
Picking a plastic surgeon for your reconstruction is an immensely personal decision. They will be the person working with you even longer than your original breast surgeon. As you select this surgeon, there are a few important considerations.
Are you board certified in plastic surgery and do you have specialized training in microsurgery?
I’m board certified in both plastic surgery and general surgery. I have extensive training in all the most advanced breast reconstruction techniques. Among these is microsurgery, which is necessary for flap reconstruction. I have been invited to speak on breast reconstruction for other physicians and pride myself on my aesthetic outcomes.
Will I look the same after my mastectomy and reconstruction as I do before? Can I see before and after photos of your previous patients?
My goal is for my reconstruction patients to look as good or better than they do before their surgical procedures. I focus on giving reconstruction patients the same aesthetic attention that my cosmetic patients get. That being said, there are variations in what to expect based on the procedure and treatments for each patient. I am happy to share many photos of prior patients so you can learn more. I have a few on my website that you can see here.
How many surgeries will be involved, and what kind of time am I looking at as far as healing and recovery?
This varies according to a few factors. The type of mastectomy, the breast surgeon, and the type of reconstruction. There is usually a minimum of 2-3 surgeries in 12 months. Also, there is the potential for 1-2 more later. These are for fine-tuning your aesthetic outcome. It is not a quick process. Careful attention to detail and dedication to the best possible result takes time.
What kinds of breast reconstruction do you perform regularly?
While I am trained in many different kinds of reconstruction, I focus primarily on two procedures. These are implant-based reconstruction and DIEP flap reconstruction. I believe these two give the best aesthetic outcome to my patients.
Is this billable to my insurance?
Absolutely, and we have experts on staff to help navigate this. These procedures are covered because they are diagnosis-driven. Therefore, insurance companies are obligated to pay for treatment after a cancer diagnosis is received. We’ve worked with nearly every insurance company and type of plan out there and can help you understand the complexities involved.
Is there anything I can do, as a patient, to enhance my results?
Yes, yes, and yes. It is absolutely imperative that you follow the post-op orders after this procedure. This is major surgery. Your body will need time, nutrition, and rest to heal adequately. Breast reconstruction is a physically and emotionally exhausting process. So, the better you take care of yourself on both of those fronts, the better you will recover.
What makes you different from other reconstructive surgeons?
My goal is to have the prettiest results out there. There are many capable surgeons, particularly in Houston. But, the goal of many is only an adequate result. Their goal is that, with clothes on, patients resemble their former selves. I believe my reconstructive patients deserve results as aesthetically pleasing as my breast augmentation patients. In some cases, you have to look really closely to tell which is which!