The plastic surgeon

There is such a stigma around plastic surgery and it is often confused with cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of body part defects due to trauma, illness, birth defects and burns. Cosmetic surgery is elective and done for aesthetic appeal.

Be very careful when selecting your surgeon. Make sure he or she is specialized in reconstructive breast surgery. There are so many surgeons out there and not all as skilled to perform the surgery you need. And a lot can go wrong. Just look at Ann-Marie’s story, on a recent episode of Botched on E!

I was referred to my plastic surgeon by my surgical oncologist. They had experience performing the type of surgery I needed together on many patients with great results.

I went to visit Dr Jaime Flores for a first consultation. We were welcomed by a team of friendly staff. We got called into the exam room where we met Dr Flores’ amazing nurse Jodi. She explained how the visit would go, what questions to ask the doctor and how she had seen people like me have very good results. From the moment I met Dr Flores, I felt I was in good hands. He really takes his with his patients. He explained the different options, showed what the expanders would look like and what options I would have for reconstruction. He gave me his personal email address which I could use to ask him any questions. I used it a few times and he always responded in less than 24 hours.

I choose the airXpanders. At the time, this was the newest technology for breast tissue expansion. I would get two remote controls that would connect with a sensor, through the skin, to the expander and every day I would be able to inflate the implant. A little bit of air would be pumped into the expander to gradually grow my breast to the desired size.

The advantage of these expanders is that you can do it yourself, at home versus the traditional saline implants. Those require weekly office visits, where they add saline to the implants. The amount added is much larger than the daily dose of air which would be a much more painful process.

At the time of the surgery, the surgical oncologist would start the surgery by removing my breast and perform a lymph-node dissection. The plastic surgeon would then come in to place the expander implants. He would also add any necessary drains and then close the skin.

All the post-surgical care was done through the plastic surgeon’s office. They would monitor the drains, prescribe the pain medication and antibiotics for after the surgery. There is a one week post operative appointment and then you go every ten days or so to remove the drains when there is less than 10ml of draining. During those visits you meet the nurses and you see the doctor again at the one-month post-surgery mark.

One last step before I was set for surgery was a visit with the medical oncologist.

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