The plastic surgeon who performed Angelina Jolie’s breast reconstruction, Jay Orringer, is one of the most respected reconstructive guys in LA. In this interview, he emphasizes the importance of selecting the plastic surgeon as well as the oncological surgeon. http://www.livescience.com/
Indeed the oncological surgeon is critical, as he or she does the life-saving part of the operation. On the other hand, it is the result of the reconstruction that the patient will see and feel every day. And often multiple future surgeries and follow-ups are involved with the breast reconstruction. So a woman’s relationship with her plastic surgeon becomes very important in the long term. As a plastic surgeon, I can also attest to the fact that the outcomes from breast reconstructions varies widely between plastic surgeons. And while a good breast cancer operation by an oncologic surgeon is very important, survival from breast cancer is less the result of the oncologic surgery than it is from the underlying biology of each woman’s particular cancer cells.
I believe that when a patient is diagnosed with a cancer by an oncologic surgeon following a biopsy, that surgeon should quarterback the patient’s care, making the principle decisions about the plastic surgeon and medical oncologists with whom they think are excellent, etc. But when a patient does not have cancer but finds out that they have the breast cancer gene, I believe they should first seek out a plastic surgeon, and ask that plastic surgeon to recommend the oncologic surgeon they think does the best mastectomy. I slight difference in the mastectomy makes as much difference to the outcome of the reconstruction as does the plastic surgeon doing the reconstruction. Indeed, many plastic surgeons themselves do beautiful mastectomies.
Angelina Jolie was lucky to find the best in both an oncologic surgeon, Kristi Funk, and her plastic surgeon. Anyone can do their own research and find the best surgeons in their area.