Luan Lawrenson-Woods & Dr Joe Dusseldorp: Breast Reconstruction 101 Q&A
Aesthetic flat, DIEP flap, implants, nipple tattoos, Ken Doll, binders and recliners … If you’re considering breast reconstruction because you’ve had a breast cancer or at an increased risk of cancer due to a gene variant, researching your options can be bamboozling!
I found that access to evidence-based information about my options helped me make decisions more easily (not that they were easy, but I felt more confident with the choices I made). I shared the story of my DIEP flap reconstruction on Instagram when I micro-blogged #100DaysDIEP but what was right for me isn’t necessarily right for others, which is why it’s important to be able to have open, informed discussions with your medical team.
In December 2021 I hosted a Live Q&A with Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon, Dr Joe Dusseldorp (FRACS) [LINK: https://www.joedusseldorp.com/ ], when women had the chance to ask him anything about breast reconstruction. Dr Joe isn’t my surgeon, but we connected on Instagram when I heard him talk about how he asked his patients to keep a diary of how they felt about their reconstruction and share it with him, so that he could get an understanding of what reconstruction really meant to them mentally and emotionally, as well as physically.
Personalised, shared decision-making, where a patient’s lived experience and expectations are central to their discussions with their team about their breast reconstruction options, is something that I’m passionate about. So, we decided to do an Instagram Live together, and here it is!
It’s longer than we’d planned as we had so many amazing questions (which also means you get to see me frantically scrolling through trying to find them! Bear with me … the questions are great, and Dr Joe’s answers are so interesting and informative –it’s worth the wait!).
Hopefully this video will be a useful resource if you are considering your breast reconstruction options, or if you know someone who is.
If you are reading this because you’ve had a breast cancer or carry a gene variant: I’m so very sorry that you find yourself here. It can be completely overwhelming, I know. If I can help in anyway, you can always find me over on Instagram and drop me a message.
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this Instagram Live don’t constitute medical advice. For personalised medical advice you should seek a consultation with a FRACS-qualified Specialist Surgeon (See the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
Here’s a list of some of the topics we talk about!
- Dr Joe intro & why FRACS is important.
- What is DIEP flap reconstruction?
- Why get an abdominal CT before DIEP?
- I have ‘bad’ veins after chemotherapy & want a DIEP.
- How to help avoid DIEP flap ‘failure’.
- Differences between implants & DIEP.
- What to consider when choosing your reconstruction.
- Can I have bigger breasts reconstructed?
- Differences between fat grafting & DIEP.
- Why have DIEP phase 2/revision?
- The advantages of a DIEP vs TRAM.
- Acellular Dermal Matrix.
- What’s TUG flap reconstruction & why have it?
- Options if DIEP is not right for you, if you don’t have enough tummy tissue, or you’ve had abdominal surgery before.
- Why are tissue expanders used?
- Reconstruction options after a recurrence.
- Differences between reconstructive & cosmetic surgery and how you can explain to family & friends.
- Do implants need replacing?
- The feel of implants compared to DIEP.
- Preserving sensation after DIEP.
- What’s the ‘Ken doll’ & what can be done about it?
- DIEP is different than from a ‘tummy tuck’.
- Positioning of the abdominal scar.
- What are ‘dog ears’ & can they be refined/’fixed’?
- I’ve had a non-skin-sparing mastectomy: can I get an implant now?
- Abdominal scar tightness after DIEP:
- Importance of moving after DIEP.
- DIEP recovery, scar management & healing.
- Can you get pregnant after a DIEP?
- Considerations for young women, especially with a genetic mutation.
- Do ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos help when deciding?
- Can I get smaller boobs reconstructed?
- Things to talk to your surgeon about.
- Close and thanks!