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.

Health and Wellness: Determining a Healthy Weight

health and wellnessEarlier this month Medical News Today released an article entitled “What is a Healthy Weight?” Discussing factors like age, sex, height, bone density, etc. that affect a person’s ideal weight, the article emphasized that one person’s healthy weight can’t be compared to another’s. Since health and wellness is such an important part of Southern Plastic Surgery and more plastic surgery patients are seeking non-invasive forms of fat reduction, I felt the need to discuss how to determine a healthy weight.

It’s important to first determine what is healthy for you. There are a variety of tests to determine a healthy weight, but experts across the world still do not agree on a defined healthy weight. Tests like Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR) help determine whether people are overweight, underweight, or at a healthy weight. However, there are still problems with these tests. For instance, BMI measures a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by their height (in meters) squared, but it does not take into account body composition or where the weight comes from. A person with excess fat can have the same BMI as an athletic person who is very muscular. WHR does a better job of determining a healthy body weight as it compares the waist and hip measurements, but it still does not measure body fat or muscle-to-fat ratio.

The article concluded that it is more important to focus on true body composition rather than weight, which can be determined by body fat percentage measurement. Although it may not be so simple to go out and get a body fat percentage measurement, the article’s conclusion highlights the importance of focusing on eliminating fat instead of focusing on weight loss. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that some fat is necessary for survival.

As you may have read in my latest press release, there has been a recent increase in patients seeking non-invasive fat reduction. It’s understandable that patients would be more interested in fat reduction technology, like CoolSculpting®, that doesn’t require downtime, but what they fail to understand is that this type of procedure is made for a very specific patient who has very small, isolated area(s) of excess fat. Those patients with larger pockets of excess fat may be more suited for liposuction or a tummy tuck surgery. A procedure to tighten loose skin may be more appropriate for some patients. Because there are so many factors to consider when choosing a method of fat reduction, it is important to schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in body contouring to help determine which procedure will best meet your fat reduction needs.

Whether or not you choose a cosmetic procedure for fat reduction, it is still important to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly to improve overall body composition and muscle-to-fat ratio. If you need help finding healthy recipes or workout tips, visit the rest of my health and wellness blog entries. For personal instruction, you can also seek the help of Daryl Madison, ACE certified personal trainer. Whether you’d like a customized diet or workout plan, Daryl can help you get on track.

For more information on health and wellness or plastic surgery, review the rest of my website or contact the office. Be sure to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter if you haven’t already to stay updated on the latest plastic surgery news.

iGuide Neck Lift Now Available at Southern Plastic Surgery

dr david whitemanSome patients are not ready for a facelift or neck lift. Whether you’re interested in less invasive procedures, want to touch up a previous surgery, or haven’t reached the point of aging in which a lower facelift or full neck lift is necessary, Southern Plastic Surgery’s Dr. David Whiteman now offers iGuide®. The latest in minimally invasive plastic surgery technology, iGuide® offers patients an option to restore youth to the sagging skin under the chin.

Our bodies slow down collagen production as we age, leaving our skin with less elasticity and bounce. The skin under the chin and around the neck often begins to sag, producing the “turkey wattle” neck skin we’re all familiar with. The iGuide® system offers patients an alternative to neck lift surgery that helps patients reach their aesthetic goals with minimal downtime.

Using a weaving technique to help support the soft tissues and muscles under the chin, the iGuide® produces a trampoline-like structure with active tension that lifts all the tissues as one unit. The system works through small perforations under the chin through which a percutaneous suturing support system is weaved to raise any sagging tissue.

The benefits of iGuide® include natural-looking results with minimal downtime compared to traditional neck lift surgery. Most patients are able to return to work within a few days after the procedure, while facelift patients often have multiple weeks of recovery. Depending on your cosmetic goals and the treatment area, iGuide can sometimes even be completed using only local anesthesia.

Ideal iGuide candidates include men and women with mild to moderate sagging neck skin, patients looking to reduce the amount of lax skin underneath the chin, and those who may be interested in “touching up” a previous surgery. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Whiteman to determine if iGuide® is a cosmetic option for you.

Contact our office for more information on iGuide® or other cosmetic and reconstructive procedures.  You can also stay up to date on the latest cosmetic surgery news and updates by following us on Twitter and Facebook.