Building Awareness and Education for Breast Reconstruction Options

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and October 16th marked BRA Day, or Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, celebrating raising awareness and education on post-mastectomy breast reconstruction options. Studies published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) show that less than 23 percent of women know the wide range of options available to them. As a double board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon with over 20 years of experience, Dr. David Whiteman understands the effects of breast cancer and actively educates his patients about reconstruction options to help them on their journey to healing.

Atlanta Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day 2012Breast reconstruction can be performed immediately after a mastectomy or lumpectomy or delayed until all cancer treatment is completed or when the patient is ready. During consultation, Dr. Whiteman examines the remaining breast tissue, skin, and muscles to determine proper treatment plans to achieve natural-looking results for each patient. A breast reconstruction treatment plan is unique to the patient’s individual situation, condition, and aesthetic goals so Dr. Whiteman ensures to discuss all options and procedural steps. Cosmetic breast procedures such as breast lift or a breast augmentation if only one breast is affected can also be performed to improve symmetry.

Depending on the amount of healthy breast tissue remaining, Dr. Whiteman may use a breast implant to restore volume and shape. If there is not enough tissue to support an implant, a tissue expander can be used to make room for an implant. Another option is flap reconstruction which includes harvesting healthy tissue, skin, muscle, and fat from another area of the body to rebuild the breast mound. The nipple and areola can also be rebuilt through cosmetic tattooing.

To further celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness, Dr. Whiteman encourages you to get involved with The Sport of Giving, a 501(c)(3) grassroots organization supporting women’s cancer care and prevention with special fundraiser events. Dr. Whiteman has also founded Life After the Fight, a business listing to promote professional aspirations of breast cancer survivors.

To learn more about Dr. Whiteman’s breast reconstruction techniques, The Sport of Giving, Life After the Fight, or if you are interested in plastic surgery, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Be sure to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for plastic surgery news and updates.

Breast Cancer Patients have New Options for Breast Reconstruction

dr david whitemanA recent article from The Sacramento Bee reported that there are now more breast reconstruction options producing natural looking results for breast cancer patients than there once was. Breast cancer takes a toll on its victims, both physically and emotionally. As the breast cancer patients in the article asked, was looking great after such a tough experience too much to ask? Breast reconstruction surgeons, like Dr. David Whiteman, don’t think so.

Cheri Person spoke out about her experience in the article discussing the thick, red scars she was left with after her double lumpectomy. She even said that she dreaded looking at herself in the mirror. Person knew something had to change, so she found a plastic surgeon to perform a mastectomy (to remove what was left of the breast tissue) and rebuild her chest with breast reconstruction.

As a double board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Whiteman works to provide his patients with the best plastic surgery results possible, and that extends to his reconstructive surgery patients as well. He has seen firsthand how natural looking breast reconstruction results can boost a survivor’s confidence and self-esteem. He has also watched the field of breast reconstruction expand.

Aside from more reconstruction options becoming available, more breast cancer patients are now pursuing breast reconstruction after cancer treatment. In fact, over 96,000 out of 250,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer received reconstruction in 2011. The article states that more women may be pursuing reconstruction than before because patients are being diagnosed at a younger age.

Dr. Whiteman performs breast reconstruction here at Southern Plastic Surgery using the patient’s skin, muscle, and fat to create new breast(s) that are proportional to the patient’s other features. Breast implants can be used in breast reconstruction to provide natural-looking volume enhancement, but if there is not an adequate amount of tissue after mastectomy, tissue expanders may be used to allow room for the breast implant. There are times when cancer only affects one breast. In these cases, Dr. Whiteman will use cosmetic breast surgery techniques like breast lift or breast reduction to ensure symmetry.

Plastic surgeons are constantly researching to find more options for breast reconstruction because they know that, like the majority of plastic surgery procedures, breast reconstruction is not one-size-fits-all. For instance, you may have heard about Suzanne Somers’ reconstruction procedure recently in the news. A bilateral lumpectomy left Somers with one breast looking deflated compared to the other. Instead of receiving a breast implant to make her breasts symmetrical, Somers opted for adipose-derived stem cell surgery. Similar to fat-grafting and fat transfer techniques, the stem cell surgery removes tissue from an area of the body to be placed in the breast. During surgery, the tissue that was removed is processed right in the operating room to boost stem cell concentration. Then, the remaining substance is injected into the breast where the stem cells eventually mature and regenerate. Although the long-term results of this new procedure have not been determined, researchers have determined that this technique is safe as long as there are no active cancer cells remaining in the breast.

Dr. Whiteman knows that breast reconstruction is all part of the healing journey and agrees with the article’s claim that women who are diagnosed with breast cancer often find a sisterhood among other women going through treatment and reconstruction. He’s even helped facilitate this camaraderie between his own patients by forming support groups, called the Buddy System, between his breast reconstruction patients and breast cancer survivors. He also founded Life after the Fight, a business listing to promote the professional ventures of breast cancer survivors.

To learn more about Dr. Whiteman’s breast reconstruction surgery techniques, the Buddy System, Life after the Fight, or if you are interested in plastic surgery, visit his website. Be sure to connect with him on Facebook and Twitter if you haven’t already for plastic and reconstruction surgery news and updates.

Join Dr. Whiteman and The Sport of Giving at the 5th Annual Pink in the Rink Weekend!

With such a large part of his practice focused on breast reconstruction surgery for women after breast cancer surgery, Dr. David Whiteman (Spokesman and Medical Advisor of The Sport of Giving) invites you to the 5th annual Pink in the Rink Weekend with the Gwinnett Gladiators. March 2nd-4th, 2012 come out to watch the Gladiators play on pink ice to raise money and awareness for women’s cancer research and prevention. Five dollars out of every $15 ticket purchase goes straight to The Sport of Giving. So come out and support your team while you support cancer research and prevention. We look forward to seeing you there!