HOW EXPERIENCED BREAST RECONSTRUCTION SURGEONS CAN OFFER BETTER BREAST AUGMENTATION RESULTS

With National Breast Cancer Awareness Month fully underway, many female patients are taking matters into their own hands and becoming very proactive about breast cancer, breast reconstruction, and breast augmentation. Continue reading “HOW EXPERIENCED BREAST RECONSTRUCTION SURGEONS CAN OFFER BETTER BREAST AUGMENTATION RESULTS” »

BREAST RECONSTRUCTION AWARENESS (BRA) DAY VINE CONTEST

Many women are not fully informed about their options for breast reconstruction after breast cancer. The Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (BRA Day) is designed to bring awareness as well as access to these women to help them move past breast cancer for good. Continue reading “BREAST RECONSTRUCTION AWARENESS (BRA) DAY VINE CONTEST” »

After Mastectomy: What to Know

Awareness of certain symptoms, procedures and protocols can help ease recovery

after surgery checklistAfter mastectomy, you may feel overwhelmed by the physical and emotional ramifications of diagnosis, surgery and reconstruction. But with hospital stays averaging three days or less, it’s important to know what to expect. What follows are some brief checklists that may help guide you through the process. Before leaving the hospital, you’ll receive instructions on:
  • Taking pain medication
  • Caring for the bandage over your incision and, if still inserted, a surgical drain
  • Managing stitches and staples (most stitches dissolve, while staples are removed later during an office visit)
  • Recognizing signs of infection and lymphedema, the swelling of the soft tissues caused by fluid buildup
  • Wearing a prosthesis or a bra (often depends on type of surgery and time needed to heal).
When you get home:
  • Recovery times vary, depending upon the type of surgery.
  • Get plenty of rest. It’s normal to experience fatigue for several weeks after mastectomy.
  • Take pain medication only as needed
  • Take sponge baths until your doctor removes drains and/or sutures
  • Ask for help — have friends and family pitch in around the house
In the months following mastectomy:
  • As nerves regrow, you may experience phantom sensations or pain in the area around the mastectomy. Analgesics such as such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can usually take care of this.
  • Expect some fatigue, although if it persists and remains constant, consult your physician.
  • Throughout your recovery, it’s important to start exercising soon after surgery. Along with preventing arm and shoulder stiffness, exercise will keep the area limber and help initiate healing.
Your healthcare team should provide written, illustrated instructions for a routine tailored to your needs. Follow all post-operative instructions from your provider. The above checklist is for discussion only and should not replace your provider’s specific instructions for recovery after mastectomy.

Survey Shows Women Prefer to See Breast Reconstruction Results

Breast Reconstruction Show-And-Tell at the National BRA DayOn August 21, 2012, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) released a new survey revealing that 89 percent of women would prefer to see breast reconstruction surgery results before undergoing the procedure themselves. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the ASPS between July 26 and July 30, 2012, and included 1200 women. According to the ASPS the survey also found:
  • About 23 percent of women know the full extent of breast reconstruction options available to them.
  • Slightly more than one-fifth, 22 percent, of women know what to expect in the quality of breast reconstruction outcomes.
  • Just under one-fifth, 19 percent, of women understand how the timing of deciding to undergo reconstruction surgery impacts their results and options.
In addition to this survey, previous research has shown that 70 percent of women are never told of their breast reconstruction options.

National BRA Day Show-And-Tell

This has prompted the ASPS to create a show-and-tell event as part of their National Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day. National BRA Day takes place on October 17, 2012 in New Orleans, LA. Malcolm Z. Roth, President of the ASPS, stated about the show-and-tell event at the National BRA Day gathering: “A group of breast reconstruction patients will show a group of breast cancer patients what their reconstruction choices look like. This is something that until now has been a taboo topic, and we want to give these women a forum to get the information they need.” Kim Sport will be part of the show-and-tell event in New Orleans. She has survived two bouts with breast cancer and had her mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries on the same day. Sport has been sharing her results with small groups of breast cancer patients who are interested in seeing results before undergoing the procedures. “I feel that it is very important to share my experience with other women because I don’t want them to just have to look at a photo. I want to show them what reconstruction really looks like,” said Sport. More information about National BRA Day can be found on its website. If you’re interested in exploring or learning more about your breast reconstruction options, contact Dr. Lisa Hunsicker online, or at her Littleton, Colorado location.

Breast Cancer Survivor Showing Other Women Her Reconstruction Results

Kim Sport is a breast cancer survivor and had her breast reconstruction procedure done at the same time as her mastectomy. She says she couldn’t be happier with her results. According to an ABC News report Sport is sharing her results and experience with other women. Commenting on her reconstruction surgery experience, Sport stated: “I felt it was very, very important to share that experience with other women because I didn’t want them just to have to look at a photo.” A new survey conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons finds that most women agree with Sport. The survey found that 89% of women would rather see what reconstruction results could look like before making any decisions for their own treatment. Many women, however, don’t find out about their reconstruction options until it’s too late. Some women never see what reconstruction could do for their situation at all.  70% of women are not fully informed about their breast reconstruction options. Dr. Frank DellaCroce, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons told ABC News: “I see a great number of patients who come in and say ‘I’d wish I had known beforehand. I wish I could turn the clock back.’ But the problem is you can’t turn the clock back.”

Raising Awareness for Breast Reconstruction

In order to combat the lack of awareness for reconstruction options the ASPS has launched National Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day. This is the first ever event of its kind and is taking place in October. In order for women to see the breast reconstruction results and hear personal experiences for themselves, a “show and tell” event has been organized as part of the event. More information about National BRA Day can be found on the event’s website. Talking with a doctor about treatment options is the best way to find out which options suit your situation. Contact Dr. Lisa Hunsicker, or stop by her Littleton, CO location to discuss your breast reconstruction options.

New Song Raises Money and Awareness for Breast Reconstruction

New York Times bestselling poet, humanitarian, and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, Jewel, released a new song in support of National Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day. The song, Flower, will raise money and awareness for breast reconstruction. Jewel is National BRA Day’s national spokesperson, and Flower is part what she’s doing to raise awareness and inspire women who may be struggling with their post-mastectomy options. On her website Jewel stated, “When I was writing this song were a lot of survivors that came to mind and I’m always continually amazed at how resilient women are, and how when faced with a difficult position they find the courage to say, ‘I’m going to fight on and I’m even going to be better.’ And that’s what made me want to write this song.” Flower was released on August 21, 2012, and is available for download on iTunes.

National Breast Reconstruction Day

National BRA Day was set up by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the Plastic Surgery Foundation (PSF) to ensure the women are being supported and informed of their post-mastectomy breast reconstruction options. The National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day is set up to take place on October 17, 2012. In addition to the song, Jewel will be performing a charitable concert on October 29, 2012 in New Orleans during Plastic Surgery The Meeting. Proceeds from the concert and event will be donated to the Breast Reconstruction Awareness Fund. The fund was set up by the Plastic Surgery Foundation to support national and local breast reconstruction organizations. E News posted a video on their website that feature the song and the partnership between Jewel and the PSF and ASPS. It can be viewed here. More information about the National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, or the benefit concert, can be found on Jewel’s website, and the PSF or the ASPS webpages.

Personality Factors Affect Quality of Life after Breast Reconstruction

Women Who Want ‘Revenge on Cancer’ May Have Better Psychological Responses Certain personality traits are linked to higher quality of life scores in breast cancer patients who undergo breast reconstruction after mastectomy, reports a study in the January issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Silvio Bellino, MD, and colleagues at the University of Turin, Italy, gave a battery of psychological tests to 57 women with breast cancer who underwent mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction. The goal was to look at how various personality dimensions and patterns of interpersonal functioning affected quality of life after surgery. Personalities Affect Women’s Outlook after Breast Loss and Reconstruction After adjustment for other factors, two personality types were linked to higher quality of life scores. This included women with high scores for the temperamental characteristic of “harm avoidance” – a group that Dr. Bellino and coauthors characterize as “apprehensive and doubtful.” For these patients, they write, “Restoration of body image could help…to reduce social anxiety and insecurity.” Patients rated as “vindictive/self-centered” on a scale of interpersonal problems also had higher quality of life scores. “Vindictive/self-centered patients are resentful and aggressive,” according to Dr. Bellino and colleagues. “Breast reconstruction could symbolize the conclusion of a reparative process and fulfill the desire of revenge on cancer.” None of the other psychological or other factors evaluated – including the characteristics of the cancer and its treatment – were significantly related to quality of life scores. Overall, mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction yielded significant improvement in quality of life. As survival rates improve, there is increased attention to the quality of life in breast cancer survivors. More women are undergoing breast reconstruction immediately after mastectomy, which seems to reduce the psychological impact of treatment. The new study is one of the first to look at how personality factors might affect patient satisfaction and quality of life after mastectomy and breast reconstruction. The results suggest that some personality characteristics have an important impact on psychological recovery after breast cancer treatment. Based on their findings, “A preoperative personality assessment of patients requiring breast reconstruction will be useful to identify predictive factors of better subjective quality of life after surgery,” Dr. Bellino and colleagues believe. Such an assessment could help to identify women who could benefit from a brief course of psychotherapy during the period after reconstruction, with the goals of “preventing depressive symptoms and improving interpersonal relations.”