how do you pick a surgeon????!!!

limegreen
limegreen Member Posts: 6
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I am in need of feedback - I am 47 and diagnosed with Stage1 breast cancer. I will most likely need a mastectomy and live in the New London County area. Doctors have suggested other doctors, which is okay, but I would like to hear from the ladies who have been through the mastectomy/reconstructive surgery. I don't want to bash anyone, but it would be very helpful to know why or why not to choose a particular surgeon. Can anyone help out?

Comments

  • DianeBC
    DianeBC Member Posts: 3,881 Member
    Hi and welcome. I wanted to
    Hi and welcome. I wanted to answer your post. I don't know where New London County is, but, I am sure that your cancer center can help you to pick out a surgeon. You can always check with the American Board of Plastic Surgeons and such. Ask for some references or some patients that wouldn't mind if you called them. Ask the nurses. I hope I helped some.

    Hugs, Diane ♥
  • DianaLou
    DianaLou Member Posts: 30
    Hi limegreen
    Welcome. I am not familiar with your area, but I live in a very small town. When I began having symptom and went to my GYN for starters, he recommended a local surgeon. I was not comfortable with that and asked if he would refer me to a well known cancer center 2 hours from my home. It was the best move I could have made. I wanted to be seen by someone who deals with BC on a daily basis. Once I was assigned to a doc, I researched her on line. (yes, HER, I am so glad). It is your decision of course, but try to get yourself the best possible care you can. I am sure the ACS will be able to give you referrals. I am sending warm thoughts your way......

    Diana
  • crselby
    crselby Member Posts: 441
    DianaLou said:

    Hi limegreen
    Welcome. I am not familiar with your area, but I live in a very small town. When I began having symptom and went to my GYN for starters, he recommended a local surgeon. I was not comfortable with that and asked if he would refer me to a well known cancer center 2 hours from my home. It was the best move I could have made. I wanted to be seen by someone who deals with BC on a daily basis. Once I was assigned to a doc, I researched her on line. (yes, HER, I am so glad). It is your decision of course, but try to get yourself the best possible care you can. I am sure the ACS will be able to give you referrals. I am sending warm thoughts your way......

    Diana

    breast cancer centers
    Good question, Limegreen! My primary care physican who gave me the bad news then went on to recommended the guy who took out my gall bladder 8 years ago. Since he left a stone in the duct that gave me excruciating pain and sent me to the hospital twice before a better GI surgeon found it and took it out (eight years later!), I wasn't about to go back to HIM. During evaluation for radiation, my rad oncologist said, "I've seen some of the botched jobs of his come through here; you're lucky you went to Lise." My surgeon, Lise Walker, and the first surgeon I consulted, Jennifer O'Neil, both of Scottsdale, AZ, were amazing people. I couldn't have had a better surgeon, except that I was trying to schedule tests and get results over a month when she had scheduled two week long vacations and was unavailable. She DID call me from her first vacation to give me the results of the MRI biopsies. And she DID agree to fit in one more surgery (mine!) on Friday before she left for her second vacation. Now that's commendable!

    I found both of these surgeons by asking friends who had had recent breast cancer. Scottsdale is not where I live (I live in humble litte Mesa, AZ) but traveling to their offices was SO worth it. My rad onc and med onc are also in Scottsdale, but also came highly recommended by friends.

    Good luck. Having a good one will make all the difference so try not to rush this decision.
  • Alexis F
    Alexis F Member Posts: 3,598
    crselby said:

    breast cancer centers
    Good question, Limegreen! My primary care physican who gave me the bad news then went on to recommended the guy who took out my gall bladder 8 years ago. Since he left a stone in the duct that gave me excruciating pain and sent me to the hospital twice before a better GI surgeon found it and took it out (eight years later!), I wasn't about to go back to HIM. During evaluation for radiation, my rad oncologist said, "I've seen some of the botched jobs of his come through here; you're lucky you went to Lise." My surgeon, Lise Walker, and the first surgeon I consulted, Jennifer O'Neil, both of Scottsdale, AZ, were amazing people. I couldn't have had a better surgeon, except that I was trying to schedule tests and get results over a month when she had scheduled two week long vacations and was unavailable. She DID call me from her first vacation to give me the results of the MRI biopsies. And she DID agree to fit in one more surgery (mine!) on Friday before she left for her second vacation. Now that's commendable!

    I found both of these surgeons by asking friends who had had recent breast cancer. Scottsdale is not where I live (I live in humble litte Mesa, AZ) but traveling to their offices was SO worth it. My rad onc and med onc are also in Scottsdale, but also came highly recommended by friends.

    Good luck. Having a good one will make all the difference so try not to rush this decision.

    Take your time if you can
    My cancer center had a great plastic surgeon who is very well known, so, I went with him. And, he was excellent. I had also spoken with a few of his bc patients and they raved on and on about him. One even showed me her incision, which I thought was going above and beyond. But, it helped as her tumor was approximately where mine was. Don't hurry if you don't have to make the choice. Do some research. Ask your other doctor's who they would recommend. Good luck!

    Lex♥
  • Marlene_K
    Marlene_K Member Posts: 508
    As most, I was also referred
    As most, I was also referred to a local surgeon and just did not feel right about a surgeon who might've operated on an appendix an hour before removing my breast for cancer. I was then referred to a cancer center and was very unhappy about his manerism. He gave me news that he felt that my tumor was attached to the muscle and scared me to death! Thank God it turned out he was wrong. I then went for a 3rd opinion at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He suggested that I not have immediate reconstruction and that ripped my world apart (at least at the time), but I wanted this done right. I could've had reconstruction with the first surgeon who worked very closely with a well-known plastic surgeon, but that was not what this was all about. I wanted to be sure that the cancer was taken out of me (the right way), so I opted for the surgeon that specialized in breast cancer. I will worry about reconstruction down the road. It's extremely important how we deal with it!

    Good luck... I'm sure you'll make the right choice.

    Hugs ~ Mar
  • roseann4
    roseann4 Member Posts: 992 Member
    Are you talking about New London County, CT?
    In any case, I would check with your primary and ask who he/she would suggest. If you have an oncologist, that is also a good source of referral. If you have a well respected hospital in your area, I would call and ask for their board certified surgeons who specialize in breasts. I had my surgery at Yale New Haven Hospital and my surgeon was recommended by my primary because of her expertise in breasts. I had a lumpectomy for Stage 1 breast cancer so I did not need reconstruction.

    Roseann
  • tigger99
    tigger99 Member Posts: 44
    roseann4 said:

    Are you talking about New London County, CT?
    In any case, I would check with your primary and ask who he/she would suggest. If you have an oncologist, that is also a good source of referral. If you have a well respected hospital in your area, I would call and ask for their board certified surgeons who specialize in breasts. I had my surgery at Yale New Haven Hospital and my surgeon was recommended by my primary because of her expertise in breasts. I had a lumpectomy for Stage 1 breast cancer so I did not need reconstruction.

    Roseann

    I asked my friends and
    I asked my friends and neighbors if they knew of other BC survivors, who their surgeons were and if they were satisfied. The same name kept coming up over and over again (a female who only does breast cancer surgeries), along with 1 other (a male, general surgeon). I contacted both and, when calling the general surgeon, his receptionist asked who else I was consulting. When I said the name, she said "oh she's really good. Any cases that our doctor feels are too complicated for him to handle, we refer to her." Well, that sealed it - I went with her especially because she was an expert in BC surgery. The BC surgeon then suggested I consult with 1 particular plastic surgeon because, as she said "he does beautiful work and has very few complications"

    The meeting with him went very well, we felt confident in him and what he was recommending as our options. Then he showed us a HUGE photo album of before and after photos of his reconstructions. That's ALL he does: just reconstructions after mastectomy, so we felt pretty confident that he had plenty of experience. I've been very happy with my decisions.

    I don't know if this helps you with your decisions at all, but I guess basically my answer is that I went on personal recommendations.
  • Sher43009
    Sher43009 Member Posts: 602 Member
    Hi Limegreen
    If you are in

    Hi Limegreen

    If you are in New London County CT I went to Dr. Andrea Malon out of Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center. I LOVE HER. She explained and wrote everything down. My GYN recommended her stating that if she needed surgery Dr. Malon would be the one to do it. You have to be comfortable with who you go to. If not, get another one. Dr. Malon also put in my port and I've had very little trouble with it.
  • crselby
    crselby Member Posts: 441
    Sher43009 said:

    Hi Limegreen
    If you are in

    Hi Limegreen

    If you are in New London County CT I went to Dr. Andrea Malon out of Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center. I LOVE HER. She explained and wrote everything down. My GYN recommended her stating that if she needed surgery Dr. Malon would be the one to do it. You have to be comfortable with who you go to. If not, get another one. Dr. Malon also put in my port and I've had very little trouble with it.

    important quality...
    I just thought of something. My surgeon is known for NOT having to go back in to get clear margins. She took a huge chunk of my breast, but I have it to give. And got clear margins... and then some. After reading the experiences of various women on this discusion board, I am really glad she did. The first surgeon I consulted was extremely comforting, as was her staff, but is known for not getting clear margins and needing to do more recisions. My rad onc told me this about both of them. So, one question I would ask is, what is your rate of recision?
  • reneemm
    reneemm Member Posts: 2
    I agree with the ladies
    I agree with the ladies here. You must find a BC surgeon who you are comfortable with. I went for a 2nd opinion with a BC woman surgeon and loved her. She was very thorough and wanted to make sure she exhausted all options. Most surgeons work directly with a plastic surgeon as they will perform surgery in tandem. I had my surgery at Hartford Hospital and had no problems. I had my bi-lateral masectomy with reconstruction on August 11th. Good luck to you I know it is a rollar coaster of emotions to deal with.
  • limegreen
    limegreen Member Posts: 6
    reneemm said:

    I agree with the ladies
    I agree with the ladies here. You must find a BC surgeon who you are comfortable with. I went for a 2nd opinion with a BC woman surgeon and loved her. She was very thorough and wanted to make sure she exhausted all options. Most surgeons work directly with a plastic surgeon as they will perform surgery in tandem. I had my surgery at Hartford Hospital and had no problems. I had my bi-lateral masectomy with reconstruction on August 11th. Good luck to you I know it is a rollar coaster of emotions to deal with.

    Hi there reneemm and
    Hi there reneemm and everyone else who is responding to my post!! My diagnosis was October 23, 2009. This experience feels so surreal! I am truly touched by the support from you all!

    I am trying to talk to as many women in my area as I can and have found they all have gone to different docs at different hospitals for various reasons. The common thread to all is to go with someone I am comfortable with, feel good about and will be thorough.

    We have asked medical professionals about one doc in particular have have gotten good consistent feedback. The hard part is the plastic surgeon. There is one I felt comfortable with and was impressed by his photos. Anyone have any feedback in Connecticut about Dr. Fusi, Dr. Restifo, Dr. Sena?

    This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.
  • EveningStar2
    EveningStar2 Member Posts: 491 Member
    limegreen said:

    Hi there reneemm and
    Hi there reneemm and everyone else who is responding to my post!! My diagnosis was October 23, 2009. This experience feels so surreal! I am truly touched by the support from you all!

    I am trying to talk to as many women in my area as I can and have found they all have gone to different docs at different hospitals for various reasons. The common thread to all is to go with someone I am comfortable with, feel good about and will be thorough.

    We have asked medical professionals about one doc in particular have have gotten good consistent feedback. The hard part is the plastic surgeon. There is one I felt comfortable with and was impressed by his photos. Anyone have any feedback in Connecticut about Dr. Fusi, Dr. Restifo, Dr. Sena?

    This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

    another thought
    I asked friends etc but that particular surgeon was leaving on vacation and was not available for a couple weeks and could not even say if she would accept the case until then. Not OK with me. In 20/20 hindsight, the delay would have been OK physically. Mentally, not so much. So I went to the Komen center and got a recommendation that worked out great.

    Maureen
  • Sher43009
    Sher43009 Member Posts: 602 Member
    limegreen said:

    Hi there reneemm and
    Hi there reneemm and everyone else who is responding to my post!! My diagnosis was October 23, 2009. This experience feels so surreal! I am truly touched by the support from you all!

    I am trying to talk to as many women in my area as I can and have found they all have gone to different docs at different hospitals for various reasons. The common thread to all is to go with someone I am comfortable with, feel good about and will be thorough.

    We have asked medical professionals about one doc in particular have have gotten good consistent feedback. The hard part is the plastic surgeon. There is one I felt comfortable with and was impressed by his photos. Anyone have any feedback in Connecticut about Dr. Fusi, Dr. Restifo, Dr. Sena?

    This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

    I don't know of these
    I don't know of these doctors. I went with the surgeon my GYN recommended. If you're stage 1, why are you having a mastectomy? My "team" of doctors told me that the survival rate is the same for mastectomy and lumpectomy with radiation. Good luck with your decision.
  • survivorbc09
    survivorbc09 Member Posts: 4,374 Member
    limegreen said:

    Hi there reneemm and
    Hi there reneemm and everyone else who is responding to my post!! My diagnosis was October 23, 2009. This experience feels so surreal! I am truly touched by the support from you all!

    I am trying to talk to as many women in my area as I can and have found they all have gone to different docs at different hospitals for various reasons. The common thread to all is to go with someone I am comfortable with, feel good about and will be thorough.

    We have asked medical professionals about one doc in particular have have gotten good consistent feedback. The hard part is the plastic surgeon. There is one I felt comfortable with and was impressed by his photos. Anyone have any feedback in Connecticut about Dr. Fusi, Dr. Restifo, Dr. Sena?

    This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

    I don't know any of the
    I don't know any of the plastic surgeons that you mentioned. The one I had do my lumpectomy came highly recommended by my oncologist and I liked him, which meant a lot too. He just felt right with my gut and he did a great job. Good luck to you!
  • Gloria09
    Gloria09 Member Posts: 190
    limegreen
    I've learned from this room to Google the surgeon(s) to get more info on them,
  • carkris
    carkris Member Posts: 4,553 Member
    Gloria09 said:

    limegreen
    I've learned from this room to Google the surgeon(s) to get more info on them,

    I picked my surgeeon on
    I picked my surgeeon on reputation and by seeing her, I also had some familiarity with the mammo techs and had converstions like I saw so and so what do you think.... and they would say if it was me..... I kept hearing her name over and over and I wasnot dissapointed.