Traveling For Breast Reconstruction is Easier than You May Think
By: Courtney Floyd
Interested in traveling for breast reconstruction? Not only is it possible, but is easier than you may think!
Long travel distances from breast reconstruction continue to be a difficulty after mastectomy for breast cancer patients. For many, traveling to another state or country is necessary to access qualified surgeons experienced in performing advanced reconstructive techniques (such as the DIEP flap).
Thankfully, traveling for breast reconstruction is not only possible, but is easier than you may think! Don’t take my word for it, here are the stories of a few of our many patients who traveled for DIEP flap reconstruction.
“I traveled from Kansas to PRMA. My husband stayed with me at the hospital. I was nervous about him traveling back and forth and worrying about if he was and he didn’t feel comfortable leaving me alone so decision there was easy. We arrived a couple of days before my surgery and stayed close to the hospital. After surgery we actually stayed in a Residence Inn that was reasonable over by Sea World with great reviews. The hotel was perfect and the staff took great care to ensure we had everything we needed. Having a kitchen allowed for a little touch of home w scrambled eggs and grilled cheese when my husband wanted to cook something and the evening reception and breakfast buffet allowed for us to get out and come and go as we wanted. I had a great experience so traveling was not an issue. It was actually nice to have a week or so away before returning back to life as I know it!” -Angie from Kansas
“Traveling for DIEP flap surgery may seem like a daunting task. It went from seeming daunting to what was best for me when the options for surgery in my town did not meet my criterion for breast reconstruction. I researched skill level of the physicians, where they were trained, the number of successful DIEP flap procedures performed, if they worked with another plastic surgeon during surgery, and availability of hotels, flights, and support during the two weeks I would be in San Antonio under the care of my PRMA surgeon, Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo. The effort was worth it! I used airlines that would easily change my flight without charging a change fee, in my case, Southwest Airlines, if I needed to stay longer. I rallied my “tribe” to help me out after surgery when I knew I would need a hand with showering, driving, lifting, and cooking. I was surprised how many family and friends genuinely wanted to help. If they could not be there, they purchased services like house cleaning or gift cards to order food out. The important message is; when it comes to finding a plastic surgeon for your DIEP flap, travel if it feels like your “just right” surgeon is in another state. The planning and effort will be your best investment in successful DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery and you will thank yourself when your surgery is complete, and you are home healing!” -Terri from Arizona
“My travel experience to PRMA was worth all the effort. We drove the 800 miles and stayed at a Staybridge Inns and Suites close to the hospital. We were there 3 weeks and the staff is very wonderful at accommodating patients from PRMA. The Inn is in an area where I could stroll around on cool mornings and sit near the pool under tables with umbrellas. The hallways inside are long, so on hot days, I enjoyed short strolls down the corridors. There were restaurants very close, so my husband would get our food and bring it back to our suite. About a week or so after my surgery, my husband took me on a drive to Boerne for lunch and to enjoy the area. Even though I just had a major surgery, the stay in San Antonio was an opportunity to rest and get on the road to healing and taking care of me! While there, I wanted to take it easy, but experience some of the culture and beauty of the area! The drive back home was full of stops every couple of hours to walk around and stretch my legs. We took it slow and was mindful of the moment and grateful for a great recovery with the advice of Dr. Chrysopoulo and Denise, his nurse!” -Angela from Missouri
At PRMA, we routinely offer our services to patients from out of town, out of state and out of country. From our free virtual consultation to our dedicated patient liaison, traveling for reconstruction is manageable!
*For those who are concerned about the extra financial stress of traveling for surgery, we want you to know there are resources and organizations available to help. You can learn more HERE.