Traveling For Breast Reconstruction May Not Be As Hard As You Think
Traveling long distances for surgery continues to be a significant worry for breast reconstruction patients… but it doesn’t have to be. Many people must travel to another state or country to find experienced surgeons skilled at performing advanced reconstructive techniques (such as the DIEP flap and TruSense℠).
Simply fill out the Contact Us Form to request your virtual consultation and our patient liaison will contact you and go over the process with you. First, she will ask that you fill out the new patient paperwork and return it to her with your insurance cards, so she may verify your insurance and ensure your plan has no out-of-state restrictions. Next, she will send you an email with a potential cost estimate, based on your deductible and out-of-pocket information so you are fully aware of the cost of the surgery upfront. Once you have created an account with our electronic medical records (this portal is vital for traveling patients so you can communicate easily with your surgical team) you will be scheduled for a telemedicine appointment with the surgeon of your choosing.
The dedicated patient liaison is available for traveling patients quickly and easily by phone or email, likewise, we have a 24/7 answering service to help address any immediate needs.
Following your initial surgery, we ask that you and a caregiver stay in San Antonio for about a week. You will be in the hospital for 2-3 days on a dedicated recovery floor. About a week after your surgery, we will see you back in the office for a follow-up visit with your surgeon. After the follow-up visit, you are free to travel back home.
Luckily, traveling for breast reconstruction is not only feasible but also simpler than you might imagine!
Flight Assistance When Traveling for Breast Reconstruction
We understand traveling for reconstruction is no easy task and can add financial stress as well as medical expenses, however, there is hope. To ease the burdens of traveling from out of state for surgery, there are many assistance programs that can help.
- Angel Flight
- Miracle Flight
- Corporate Angel Network
- National Patient Travel Center
- Air Charity Network
- Angel Airlines for Cancer Patients
- PALS (Patient AirLift Services)
For more information on flight assistance, visit our website today.
Lodging Arrangements When Traveling for Breast Reconstruction
Following your initial surgery, we ask that you and a caregiver stay in San Antonio for about a week, these resources will offer a discounted rate for your stay.
- If you are traveling for breast reconstruction (delayed, prophylactic and immediate) here are some options reserved for you.
- If you are traveling for an active breast cancer treatment (such as mastectomy and breast reconstruction) here are some additional options available for you.
Contact your patient liaison if you have any questions about hotels or where to stay during your time in San Antonio.
What Else Should I Know?
- Find a hotel close to your medical facility: Do a Google Maps search to find hotels located nearby. (Most commonly, our out-of-state patients will have surgery at the Methodist Hospital off Floyd Curl drive, which is nearest to our Huebner Location. Some patients may have surgery at North Central Baptist, which is nearest our Stone Oak Location. In the local hotel list, hotels are broken up with those locations in mind for you.)
- Wheelchair assistance: Requesting a wheelchair for the airport will help you not get overly fatigued and reduce swelling. (Your nurse may also provide you with a note when traveling home after reconstruction to assist you in going through security with a drain, and to not lift your arms over your head during the scans.)
- Request a recliner: Elevating your legs will help with the fluid buildup and drainage post-surgery. Some of our local hotels have recliners available upon request, ask your patient liaison for a recommendation for your stay, if this is something you would like to have. (If you have a hotel preference, but they don’t offer a recliner, you can rent one from Rent-A-Center, they will bring it to your hotel and set it up, sanitize it and pick it up at the end of your stay.)
- Locate nearby restaurants, pharmacies, and grocery stores: Make a list ahead of time so you won’t have to worry about this when you’re recovering from surgery. You will be there for a minimum of two weeks so it’s important to have a game plan. (Our favorite grocery store locally is H.E.B, they offer delivery of goods, as well as a curbside pickup!)
What Patients Are Saying About Their Experience Traveling to PRMA for Breast Reconstruction.
“Traveling to PRMA for surgery wasn’t too bad and it was totally worth it. It was a 9-hour drive for me. Getting to Texas was pretty easy, but the drive home was a little rougher than I had anticipated. Having to stop and walk every hour or 2 helped a lot. It was the getting in and out of the car that was rougher. Knowing what I know now, I would have packed a couple of smaller size pillows for the drive home to help make it more comfortable for such a long drive. The place I stayed at for surgery, Water Walk San Antonio was an amazing place to stay and it was very comfortable for my husband and me, they even brought in a recliner for me to use after surgery” – Lucinda from Arkansas
“I booked my daughter’s and my flight a couple of days prior to my surgery. That way we could get acclimated to the area a bit since we were renting a car. We were able to explore downtown a bit, including the River Walk and the Alamo. Following Meredith’s advice, we booked at the Waterwalk at the Rim & took a ride share to the hotel, and then rented a car from the Enterprise nearby. We returned it the same way the day we flew home, which was the same day as my in-office post-op visit. Everything went very smoothly, and we were very happy with the entire experience.” – Amy from Florida
“Traveling to San Antonio was very doable. My husband usually does all of the driving, and I am the navigator. Always good to study the map and have a general plan. There was a lot of traffic to contend with. We had a 10-hour drive from Kansas. We left one week after surgery and our drive home went well we only stopped twice. Always nice to be home. While we were there, we were very comfortable staying at Rose’s house and would sure do that again” -Cindy from Kansas
“I traveled to PRMA via Plane from Georgia to have both phase 1 and 2 of my reconstruction surgery. The process couldn’t have gone more smoothly. I thought that it would be very difficult to move around after the procedures but, I found that after both procedures, I was able to go to dinner and sleep comfortably. I would suggest a comfortable seat on the plane after the completion of phase 1 to allow for less maneuvering when other travelers board the plane and or need to use the restroom. PRMA I am forever grateful for the attention, knowledge, and care extended by your staff ♥ Thank you for helping me feel whole again! I am excited for Phase 3” -Jenine from Georgia
“For me, traveling was my only option since there are no microsurgeons in my state. It was important for me to make my time in SA feel as much like home as possible. I planned ahead and was able to take my family with me, staying in an Airbnb and renting a vehicle. Reaching out to others who also traveled and communicating frequently with PRMA, helped me feel prepared and took a lot of the fear out of the entire process. San Antonio is such a beautiful city, too. It was wonderful to visit places of interest while out getting my walking exercise each day!” -Lora from Alaska
*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.
“Set realistic, attainable goals after your surgery. Your body is going to feel different now than it did before surgery. If you are doing it simply to lose weight or get back into a certain dress or pant size you may be setting yourself up for failure. Reset your compass.”