what to ask your breast reconstruction doctor when choosing your top surgeon

Choosing The Breast Reconstruction Surgeon Best For You

We believe in the strength of empowerment through education and awareness so patients may make their own best decisions. We feel it is important for patients to have an open dialogue with their treating physicians. To that end, we encourage patients to consider asking the following questions of their prospective surgeon and/or surgical team. Though most are applicable to surgery in general,  some questions may be helpful in discerning between breast reconstruction options. Other questions may be helpful in selecting a microsurgeon specifically for true, muscle-sparing natural tissue breast reconstruction called perforator free flaps, i.e. DIEP, PAP, GAP, because of their highly specialized nature. Click here to download a checklist for your convenience.

  1. Are you Board Certified?
  2. How many years experience do you have performing breast reconstruction in general as primary surgeon?
  3. At which hospitals do you operate?
  4. Who are the breast surgeons with whom you operate? are each Board Certified?
  5. Do you have breast surgeons who perform nipple-sparing mastectomy?
  6. Which breast reconstruction options do you perform?
  7. If you perform perforator flap breast reconstruction, which flaps do you offer?
  8. Are you fellowship trained in microsurgery? in perforator free flap breast reconstruction?
  9. What is your success rate in breast reconstruction?
  10. What is your percentage of “take backs” to the operating room for complications? for perforator flaps specifically?
  11. Do you use residents and/or fellows as assistant surgeons?
  12. If performing perforator flap breast reconstruction, how many microsurgeons do you use? are they Board Certified? fellowship trained in perforator flaps?
  13. Do I have to consent for a procedure that sacrifices muscle such as TRAM or free TRAM when my planned surgery is a muscle-sparing perforator flap such as DIEP
  14. How many times have you converted a muscle-sparing perforator flap case (i.e. DIEP) to one that sacrifices muscle (i.e. TRAM)?
  15. If you perform perforator flaps, how many DIEP have you done successfully as the primary surgeon? GAP? PAP? LAP? TDAP/ICAP?
  16. Do you perform all perforator flaps as simultaneous bilateral?
  17. Do you perform “stacked” combination flaps?
  18. What is your success rate for perforator flaps, specifically each flap?
  19. How many hours on average does it take you to perform a unilateral DIEP? bilateral DIEP?
  20. What is your percentage of cases with use of mesh for abdominal closure? instance of hernia following DIEP surgery?
  21. Do you offer tattooing of the nipple/areola complex in your office?
  22. Do you have a list of patients whom I can contact?
  23. Are you accessible if I have questions/concerns? after hours?
  24. Do you have an insurance specialist on staff?
  25. Is a private room available and can my loved one stay with me in the hospital?


I am so thankful to be able to place my trust and confidence in someone so technically expert and so personally passionate has been so meaningful to me.
I feel so fortunate to have you as the “Captain” of my team! Not only are you a gifted surgeon but you are an Angel.
Thank you! Robyn McGuinness

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