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.

Negative Effects of Obesity May Include Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Obesity PreventionHealth and wellness is an important part of my practice and my recommendation as a plastic surgeonPlastic surgery can enhance a person’s body aesthetically, but without proper diet and exercise, the surgical results can be compromised.  Obesity can negatively affect many people’s lives by worsening (and sometimes causing) health problems and diseases.  In fact, new research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (American Association for Cancer Journal) shows that obesity may even increase the risk of triple-negative breast cancer.

As a plastic surgeon who offers breast reconstruction surgery for breast cancer patients after mastectomy, I’m all-too familiar with the disease and the toll it takes on patients.  Triple-negative breast cancer accounts for 10 to 20 percent of all breast cancers and is particularly hard to treat.  The results of the study showed that women with a higher BMI (body mass index) more frequently developed triple-negative breast cancer and estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer than those women who lived physically active lives (and had a lower BMI).

Getting down to an appropriate, healthy weight can be challenging and frustrating.  Plastic surgery is never an excuse to forego proper diet and exercise, but it can help you achieve your desired results.  Body contouring, or liposuction procedures, can help remove stubborn areas of fat that just won’t respond to diet or exercise.  Liposuction can be performed in almost any area you have concentrated, excess fat stored (i.e.- flanks, hips, abdomen, back, legs, thighs, arms, neck, buttocks).

Fat can stretch the skin, which means that after weight is lost, the skin may sag instead of bouncing back like it once did, especially in cases where a significant amount of weight is lost.  When this occurs, body lift procedures may be performed to excise the excess skin while tightening the surrounding tissues and muscles.  Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a partial body lift procedure that tightens skin and tissue in the abdominal region.  Post bariatric, or post weight loss patients may also benefit from arm lift, thigh lift, or even a complete body lift.

As previously stated, plastic surgery should never replace traditional diet and exercise routines, but can aid you in maintaining a pleasing aesthetic once you’ve done your part to live healthily.  You can find plenty of helpful information in the health and wellness section of my blog, including healthy recipes, fat fighter tips, and health focused blogs.  My goal is to educate my patients on overall wellness and its role in plastic surgery recovery and results. For more information on the plastic surgery procedures I perform, visit my website and keep reading my blog.