I think if you were to ask some reconstructive surgeons they would say that the role is to do the reconstruction.
The surgery aspect of what you’re doing with that patient is actually the shortest aspect, meaning you’re going to be meeting with them usually twice before the surgery, you may be spending an hour to an hour and a half with them in each of those visits and then you’re going to be seeing them for at least three months if not three years after the surgery. And the surgery aspect is the shortest. You may be in the operating room an hour to five or six hours but it’s still going to be the shortest amount of time. So from my standpoint it’s making sure the patient is ready for surgery and then helping them through afterwards. You really have to look at it as a team approach in that your job isn’t just to put in the tissue expander or put in the implant, it’s really to be supporting that patient in any way that you can.
I think when we were putting together a team to take care of our patients and certainly looking at the patient as a whole and everything that they needed to be dealing with, we wanted to put together a team of not only clinicians in the traditional sense, we wanted to make sure that we had oncologists that were on board with the way that we wanted our patients taken care of and radiation team and so forth.
But then we also have a team of people that work with us from the standpoint of, we have lymphedema therapists and physical therapists that work with us to see all of our patients because any time you have mastectomy done you’re going to have some lymph nodes removed and that needs to be addressed. But we also have nutritionists that work with us from the standpoint of is there a lifestyle change that needs to be made or something that we could certainly look into? We have acupuncturists and we have hypnotherapists that work with us in order to try to help achieve that. We have psychologists that work closely with us because obviously any of the issues that a patient may have had going on in their lifetime before this diagnosis, the diagnosis of cancer is going to bring that right to the surface. I think with the integrative aspect of caring for a patient you’re treating them not only for their issue, whether that in our case be cancer or whether it be diabetes, but we’re looking at how can we deal with what else you’re going through?
Dr William Scarlett