Mastectomy Patient Learns About Implant Alternatives

More and more women who have had mastectomies are learning their breast reconstruction options stretch far beyond the traditional implant, according to a CNN story.

CNN Video

In the case of Elizabeth Anderson, one month after learning she had breast cancer in April 2009, Anderson underwent a double mastectomy. Though Anderson initially believed the only option she had for reconstructing her breasts was through the use of implants, she later learned about bilateral breast reconstruction. In this procedure, skin and fat are grafted from another area of the body, the buttocks in Anderson’s case, and used to create a new breast.

Prior to the surgery, Anderson had been wearing breast prostheses and not only found them to be cumbersome, but also struggled emotionally with the loss of her breasts. Given that she had undergone radiation therapy as part of her cancer treatment, Anderson’s doctor did not recommend breast implants.

When she learned about bilateral breast reconstruction from another radiologist, Anderson shared her new discovery with other breast cancer survivors, who also had not heard of the option.

That’s believable given that the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says only three in ten women are fully aware of their breast reconstruction options. According to many professionals, communication in the medical field must increase.

Dr. Ann Partridge, clinical director of the Breast Oncology Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said, “Medicine is not a solo-practitioner profession anymore; we need to work as teams for a better outcome.”

Still, the story has a happy ending for Anderson who, when speaking about her surgery says, “It’s amazing what doctors can do today. I’m absolutely thrilled I can just be normal. That’s all I want, is to be normal again.”

Contact Dr. Ortegon in San Antonio for more information about breast reconstruction.

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Posted in: Reconstructive Surgery

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