Dr. Harness explains how a woman can find an experienced surgeon to perform her mastectomy.
Dr. Harness, M.D.:
It’s really important that women are really diligent about who their surgeon is. And hopefully, if they are in a major urban area, they have the flexibility to find surgeons who have a majority of their practice devoted to breast, which there are more and more of us out there.
I would like to hope that my colleagues who devote the majority of their practice to breasts are up-to-date with the latest in mastectomy techniques, the latest in oncoplastic techniques. I would like to hope that my colleagues are focused on good cosmetic outcome for the patients undergoing mastectomy. My passion is, I think we have forgotten that through the years, and we need to refocus on good cosmetic outcomes even with mastectomy.
Now unfortunately, if a person is more outside of a major metropolitan area, their surgeon there, unfortunately, may be doing lots of gall bladders, lots of hernias, lots of appendectomies, lots of other things.
Then I would encourage that patient to say, “Are you a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons?” We have over 2500 members. At our annual meetings, we really emphasize these kind of technique issues. So that’s certainly not to say that a colleague who is doing hernias, gall bladders, appendectomies couldn’t really do a fantastic mastectomy with the focus about reconstruction. So I don’t want to malign in any way my colleagues for whom breast is only 10 or 15 percent of their practice.
But those are the kind of questions and the kind of diligence and the kind of research I think the patient should be doing, and not just going to any surgeon thinking they are going to get a good result or that that surgeon is going to be really up-to-date on the techniques.
About Dr. Harness, M.D.:
Dr. Jay Harness, M.D., is the Director at St. Joseph Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center. Practicing medicine for 35 years, Dr. Harness specializes in general surgery and medical oncology. Graduating medical school from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, he conducting his internship and residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Recognized nationally and internationally for his work in breast and endocrine surgery, Dr. Harness is the immediate past-President of The American Society of Breast Surgeons and is President-elect of Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness can assist patients in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.