3 Benefits of a Breast Reconstruction Procedure

Denver Breast Reconstruction If you have had a mastectomy and want to feel like yourself again after your breast cancer treatment, talk to us about breast reconstruction surgery. Dr. Hunsicker has extensive experience performing a single-stage, direct-to-implant procedure that allows for the replacement of the breast as soon as the breast is removed during mastectomy. Dr. Hunsicker may perform this procedure using a special technique depending on the patient’s cancer stage and surgical history. Other techniques can also be effective for restoring your figure. Continue reading 3 Benefits of a Breast Reconstruction Procedure

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

Angelina Jolie Chooses Teardrop Shaped Implants

Actress, humanitarian and mother of six’s preventative mastectomy and reconstruction expands dialogue and raises awareness about women’s health

Angelina JolieAngelina Jolie’s preventative double mastectomy and subsequent breast reconstruction resulted in a firestorm of publicity. Not only did it create dialogue about what to do when testing positive for the defective BRCA1 gene as Jolie had, but also about the type of reconstruction. The defective BRCA1 gene increases breast cancer risk by an estimated 87 percent. In Jolie’s case, the facts that her mother, her maternal grandmother and most recently, her aunt died of the disease added weight to her decision. Breast cancer risk drops to below 5 percent after a preventative double mastectomy. Jolie’s choice of “teardrop” implants also ignited discussion. Teardrop or shaped implants are contoured and are considered the most natural, both in look and feel. Jolie’s three surgeries were done through the creases underneath her breasts, a common procedure which minimizes incision lines. The first focused on saving the nipples and the second was a total mastectomy, in which the breast tissue was removed and tissue expanders were put in place. No cancer was found. While some women have implants at the same time as the mastectomy, Jolie chose to have a third surgery for their final placement to help ensure the best cosmetic outcome. The surgery also utilized donor skin to provide support and contour to the implants. From start to finish, all three surgeries took less than three months. Both Jolie and her physician are pleased with the results. Adds Jolie: “I have been very happy just to see the discussion about women’s health expanded, and that means the world to me and after losing my mom.” Angeline Jolie by oparazzi photos on Flickr

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.

Text Your Doctor, Get Better Sooner

Study shows texting aids recovery process after surgery.

TexterWhile text messaging started out as a fad among teenagers, today its widespread use has extended to breast reconstruction after mastectomy. A recent study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that text messaging between the patient and surgeon led to faster recovery times. Women who exchanged texts with their surgeon made significantly fewer clinic visits and phone calls; texting also reduced the amount of time the postsurgical drain was needed. The study, the first to show potential benefits of text messaging between surgeons and patients undergoing a specific procedure, included 102 women with similar characteristics who used comparable surgeons and techniques. One group participated in routine postoperative text messaging while the other did not. “Consistent with the benefits of text messaging (ease of use, speed, simplicity), patients’ adherence to medical advice (monitoring and recording…drain output) improved in this study,” stated Dr. Roshni Rao of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. Some patients mentioned that being able to communicate with their surgeon via text helped them feel “empowered and an advocate for their own care.” Yet despite its potential advantages, texting between doctors and patients has yet to catch on. Concerns include patient confidentiality as well as protecting the privacy of physicians and the amount of time involved in texting. Reimbursement is another potential area of question. In the study, patients used text messaging to send only the requested information during specified hours and messages only appeared on a password-protected cell phone. Yet if routine postoperative text messages can help reduce unnecessary visits and quicken recovery, everyone wins. “The results of this exploratory study are intriguing and may provide a strategy for innovative communication between physicians and patients,” writes Dr. Rao and coauthors. Photo: Texting at Comic-Con by kevin dooley on Flickr

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.