Ask the Doctor-Can You Fix a Bilateral Mastectomy Gone Wrong?

This week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question:  Can you fix a bilateral mastectomy gone wrong? My breasts are now hideous to look at and I’m ashamed of my body now. They are lopsided and not even and I’m left with a 2 inch scar across my entire chest.

Answer: It is difficult to know what we might be able to do for you with the information you gave us, but usually something can be done to at least make things somewhat better.

Many of our patients had multiple prior surgeries elsewhere before we met them, and we were able to help many of them. We would be delighted to have one of our clinical staff members to call you to discuss your situation in more detail, if you wish.  Simply call 1-866-374-2627 or e-mail info@naturalbreastreconstruction.com and we can get that arranged for you.

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!

3 Common Breast Reconstruction Questions

Undergoing breast reconstruction surgery is a life-changing event.

It’s a decision that often requires multiple doctor’s consultations and lots of personal reflection after a battle with breast cancer.

And even after all that time spent planning, researching the best doctors, and doing your homework, it’s possible that you might walk out of a reconstructive surgery and be unhappy with the results.

It’s heartbreaking, and we hate to see women suffer through this.

That being said, there’s a lot that can be done to help repair reconstructive surgeries that didn’t go as planned.

And thanks to innovative technology and our amazing surgeons at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, our team can often help women achieve their reconstructive goals in order to feel beautiful and confident once again.

Are you feeling disappointed after a reconstructive surgery?

If so, we encourage you to take a look at some of the most common questions we get from women who are looking for reconstructive help to see how we’ve been able to help them in the past.

Chances are, if you have similar issues, we’ll be able to help you, too!

Check it out…

QUESTION 1: Is It Possible to Do Repair and Nipple Reconstruction Surgery at the Same Time on the Same Breast?

Not long ago, we received the following question from a prospective patient…

Question: I had hybrid DIEP reconstruction at another facility, and I am disappointed with the results. There have been many issues.

For example, my breasts are different shapes and sizes, no node involvement and no microinvasion. The surgeon who did the mastectomy said the path report said the margins were not wide enough and he will need to cut additional skin out during the next surgery.

The next surgery is supposed to be to reconstruct the nipple. Can you do both procedures on the same breast at the same time? Please Help!”

Here’s our response…

Answer: “I’m sorry you are having to go through this.If your margins were positive and you had an immediate DIEP flap, that could be a little complicated to resolve, although I’m sure we could work through it.

Reconstructive surgery can be different for every patient that we encounter. However, many times it is possible to do both at the same time. The best way to determine what method will work best for you is to come in for an evaluation.”

QUESTION 2: I’m Unhappy with My Reconstructive Result from Another Surgeon – Are You Able to Make It Look More Natural?

The question we received was…

Question: “Three years ago, I had a double mastectomy and am now cancer free. My plastic surgeon did a terrible job with the reconstruction. The left side implant is way off to the outer side and looks larger than the right side.

The right side is way too far to the outside. There is zero cleavage.

Is there any way to reposition the implants more to the natural position of the breast? I do not expect perfect but don’t like looking like a botched job. Thank you.”

Our response is as follows…

Answer:  “I’m glad to hear you have been cancer free and have your treatment for breast cancer behind you. At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, it is part of our mission to help women move on with their lives after breast cancer. We focus our efforts on helping women get their bodies back together with permanent, natural results.

I’m sorry you are disappointed with your reconstruction. If you have had radiation, then it may be very hard to have your breasts match with implant reconstruction. If you have not had radiation, then perhaps your implants could be revised or adjusted for an improvement.

Unfortunately, these corrections are all too often temporary. It is possible that using your own fatty tissue would be a more permanent option without implants.

Sometimes it is hard to start over with another approach, but it may be necessary if you desire a more natural and permanent result. So, the answer is yes–it’s likely that we CAN help you achieve a more natural look.

If you would like more information about natural breast reconstruction with your own tissue, let me know.”

QUESTION 3: I Am Unhappy with My Previous Bilateral Mastectomy with Reconstruction Using Implants. Are You Able to Fix It?

Question: “I’m not happy with the results of my bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction using implants. Reaching out to see if it can be fixed.”

Answer:  “It is very likely that we could help you with your unsatisfactory reconstruction. This problem can often be fixed either by using your own tissue, or by revising your implant reconstruction.

I will be happy to discuss your situation and provide you with some options.”

Looking for options to improve your breast reconstruction results? Give us a call at 1-866-374-2627 or contact us online to find out more!

Ask the Doctor- Is It Too Late To Have Natural Breast Reconstruction?

This week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question: I had bilateral mastectomies and wanted to do the natural breast procedure but the surgeon wouldn’t even discuss it. Then he totally botched the reconstruction. I look deformed. I still avoid the mirror. A redo was set but was canceled day of surgery because b/p and bipod star were elevated. I want it redone. I would like to have the natural breasts. I have plenty of abdominal tissue. I am diabetic.

AnswerI’m sorry you have had so much trouble with your reconstruction.

Fortunately, previous attempts at implant reconstruction rarely impact our ability to successfully perform a reconstruction with your own tissue. Diabetes increases your risk of some complications, most notably wound healing problems and infections, but it rarely keeps us from doing the reconstruction at all.

If you wish, we can have one of our staff call you to discuss your situation further.

Thanks for your question, and look forward to meeting with you.

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!

5 Resolutions for a Happy and Healthy New Year

On behalf of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we want to wish you a very happy New Year!

We hope 2018 will be your best year yet!

And, with a little planning and a few New Year’s resolutions, we know it’s possible to ensure that this year will be filled with the things that matter most–time spent with loved ones, good health, and joy.

What should you add to your resolutions this year to help make 2018 one of the best years yet?

Check out the 5 resolutions we recommend trying to achieve this year.

Resolution #1 – Drink More Water

Every New Year thousands of people make resolutions to lose weight, tone their bodies, and improve their health.

In theory, these are great resolutions. However, the desire to lose weight and regain your health fast often leads to crash diets and unrealistic workout plans.

No good!

This year, we recommend that you make the resolution to simply drink more water.

Why? Because drinking water…

  • Increases muscle fuel.
  • Helps with calorie control.
  • Improves kidney function.
  • Helps keep skin clear and free from acne.
  • Boosts your brainpower.
  • And so much more!

All those health benefits, and all you have to do is try and drink about 64 ounces a day! Now that’s something anyone can try and do!

Tip: If you don’t like plain water, add lemon, lime, or other flavors to the water you drink to jazz it up! Here are a few recipes you might want to try!

Resolution #2 – Eat More Veggies and Fruits

Much like our first resolution to drink more water, the resolution to eat more fruits and veggies is a simple lifestyle change that anyone can make.

Not to mention, it’s also a super easy resolution to carry out through the entire year!

Here are a few ways to add more fruits and veggies into your diet…

  • Use a vegetable-based pasta while cooking.
  • Blend vegetables and fruits together to make a sweet and delicious smoothie.
  • Grab a piece of fruit as a sweet snack instead of a candy bar.
  • If you’re craving a salty snack, try out veggie chips–made with sweet potatoes, turnips, onions, and other veggies–instead of potato chips.
  • Substitute cauliflower for mashed potatoes or rice.
  • Top your oatmeal off with fresh berries for sweetness instead of sugar.
  • Preslice carrots, peppers, and cucumbers for an easy, grab-n-go snack.
  • Add one vegetarian meal to your meal plan every week.

Regardless of whether you love veggies and fruits or not, there’s a ton of ways you can sneak them into your meal plans so you can consume more of them on a regular basis.

Resolution #3 – Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Spouse/Significant Other

When there’s turmoil in your relationships, you’re bound to experience unnecessary stress, anxiety, or even depression.

The best way to avoid this is to make it a priority to work on your relationship with your spouse or significant other and strengthen the bond this year.

There are a few ways you can do this.

First of all, it’s important to have time together. This is extremely important for couples who have children, which makes it difficult to go out on a date night.

Make it a priority to have at least one night a month that you can spend alone with the one you love.

Second, communication is key.

Make sure you and your partner are taking the time to communicate with each other. Talk about your goals or dreams. Discuss the things that are driving you crazy, whether it’s something happening at work or in your family life. And continue to make sure to keep each other updated on what’s happening in your lives.

Third, consider taking a class or workshop that will give you the tools and strategies you need to strengthen your relationship.

We personally recommend The Love and Respect Video Marriage Conference.

Resolution #4 — Make Time for Self-Care

Self-care is a topic that we talk a lot about, and for good reason.

Without focusing on self-care, it’s easier to fall victim to stress, anxiety, depression, and even poor health.

So, what is self-care and how do you do it? Easy.

Self-care is simply making time for yourself every day or week.

It can be as simple as setting aside an hour of time to unwind in a hot bubble bath or as extravagant as planning a week-long vacation for yourself to rest and recoup.

For more information on self-care and simple things you can do, check out our blog post here.

Resolution # 5 — Schedule Your Yearly Physical

Going for a yearly physical is one of the best ways to help keep you safe and healthy.

At a yearly routine checkup, doctors will check for signs of serious health conditions like high/low blood pressure, unusual lumps or bruises, heart problems, and so much more!

It’s also a great time to bring up any health concerns that you have and chat with your doctor about the things you should be doing to improve your health during the year.

We know your schedule is busy! But, please, before you forget, get this resolution checked off and call your doctor’s office today!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Let us know in the comments below!

Ask the Doctor – Why Won’t Insurance Pay For Reconstruction?

This week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question: I don’t understand why insurance company doesn’t pay for reconstruction if you’ve had a lumpectomy. With radiation, your breasts shrink a lot and you are all out of proportion. I finally did get them to pay for prosthesis and bra.

AnswerThat’s not always the case with a lumpectomy. If the surgery results in a significant defect or radiation negatively impact the tissue, most times we can submit your case to your insurance company along with photos of the affected area and they will indeed cover a reconstruction surgery for you.

We’re happy to chat with you about your specific situation and see what we can do to help you through that process.

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!

The Benefits of Stillness: 5 Ways to Recuperate and Relax

Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!

The holiday excitement is over, the festivities have come to a close, you can finally rest now and get off of your toes.

The children are nestled all snug in their beds,while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

You’ve pulled off a holiday season to remember, one that’s worth a slow clap, now after all of the chaos, it’s time for a nap!

All silly rhymes aside, we’re serious about that nap!

After all, we’ve just come out of a season where many of us tend to run around like chickens with our heads cut off. And if you don’t take the time to recharge, you might start to suffer from exhaustion.

Stillness is so important for the body as it lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, and allows the body to recoup. So, today, we thought we’d share some suggestions on how to “be still” after this crazy season.

Check them out…

Take a Hot Bath

There’s nothing more relaxing than a hot bath on a cold winter’s night.

This week, set aside an hour or so of uninterrupted time and take a hot bath. Then, grab your favorite book, turn on some music, or simply rest as you enjoy the comfort of a warm tub.

If you have children, we recommend you have your partner take the kids out for the evening to grab dinner or go see a movie. After all, the last thing you want is little Timmy interrupting your time of stillness because he can’t find the toilet paper!

Rest in Your Favorite Chair

Most people have a favorite chair that they like to to relax in. You know, the soft, cozy one that cradles you as you let your tired body sink into it?

The moment your house gets quiet, take advantage of that time by spending some quiet time in your favorite chair. Grab a soft blanket, and perhaps a cup of hot cocoa, coffee, or tea, and just sit.

Don’t turn on the TV or grab a book. Just be. Reflect on all the amazing holiday memories that you’ve made, breathe, relax, and enjoy the stillness.

Meditate

Meditation is proven to lower blood pressure and refocus your mind–two benefits people often need after a crazy holiday season.

Not to mention, a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison also indicates that meditation reduces the grey-matter density in areas of the brain related with anxiety and stress.

Clearly, meditation is the ultimate key to relaxation. So, how exactly do you meditate?

Check out this FREE 30-day  meditation program via YouTube that’s specifically for beginners.

Visit Your Favorite Outdoor Spot and Sit Quietly in Nature

There’s something magically rejuvenating about the stillness of a winter’s day.

If you live in a cold climate, the simple act of sitting on the cool ground while watching snowflakes fall from the sky is peaceful and relaxing.

And, if you live in a warmer climate, you can enjoy the same serenity while watching leaves rustle on the ground or birds flying from tree to tree.

Nature is the perfect environment for being still, letting your mind rest, and reenergizing as you silently watch the beauty that’s all around you. Take a trip to your favorite outdoor spot, soak in the peace and calm, and leave feeling renewed.

Relax While Listening to Your Favorite Peaceful Music

Did you know that music has the ability to disorient rhythmic brain activity in the thalamus and the brain’s outer cortex?

It’s this phenomenon that enables music to make us feel happy and relaxed when we listen to peaceful, calm music.

Schedule some time this week and lie in a dark, quiet room. Then, plug in your headphones and play some classical music or calm music from your favorite genre.

Note: This is not the time for headbanger music, even if it’s your favorite music. Stick to soft, gentle tunes. Otherwise, the sounds of loud, chaotic music will have a reverse effect and the potential to hype you up instead of settling you down.

What is your favorite way to relax and be still? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Ask the Doctor – Would Reconstruction Be Successful For Me?

This week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question: I had implants put in 33 years ago, got breast cancer, had a lumpectomy, radiation, and got rock hard implants as a result. I just recently decided to have the implants removed and a great deal of scar tissue. They put in expanders that caused me to get an infection. I had to almost beg them to believe me as the pain was horrific. I had a 2nd doctor remove the expanders. I now have a very deformed left breast and a severely drooping right breast. I contacted the doctor who put my implants in years ago. He is no longer in the area but told me about this procedure.

I guess my question is if this procedure would be successful for me? I do not like the way I look, and it is painful as well. I am a teacher and would need to know the time frame this would entail. It has been a horrible summer with this ordeal. I almost wish I left the rock-hard implants in. Please let me know what you think. I am very much interested in hearing your thoughts. 

AnswerThank you very much for your question. I’m sorry you have had so much difficulty. Your situation is unfortunately quite common, but the good news is that natural breast reconstruction with your own tissue can often help dramatically. Fortunately, a history of radiation (&/or multiple failed attempts at implant reconstruction) does not at all decrease the success rate of subsequent reconstruction using only your own tissue. We have successfully reconstructed hundreds of women in your situation.

Our first choice for a donor area, if you have some extra tummy tissue, is the DIEP flap. If you do not have adequate tummy tissue, the buttocks (sGAP flap) is also often an excellent donor area.

It is important to realize that natural tissue reconstruction is not just an operation, but a process. The first operation, the microsurgical transfer of the flaps, is by far the largest. It usually takes 6-8 hours, requires a 4-day hospital stay, and a total stay in Charleston of about a week. Recovery takes approximately 6-8 weeks.

After you have healed fully from the first surgery (usually 6 months if you have been radiated), 1-2 additional surgeries are required to achieve optimum results. These are much less involved, ordinarily requiring only one night in the hospital, and you can usually go back home as soon as you are discharged.

While the process can be lengthy, once you are done, you are REALLY done. Most women reconstructed with their own tissue come to regard their reconstructed breasts as their own, and are finally able to put the issue of breast cancer behind them.

I would be happy to call and discuss your situation in more detail if you wish, and thanks again for your question.

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!

3 Delicious Hot Cocoa Recipes with a Twist

Winter has arrived, a cool chill is in the air, and it’s the perfect time to cozy up with a steaming cup of hot cocoa.

While we love a classic cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows, we know we have an entire season of sipping this yummy beverage ahead of us. So, we thought it would be fun to share some ideas on how you can add a twist to a classic cocoa recipe.

This year, mix things up and try our recipes that put a twist on one of the world’s most favorite winter drinks.

Enjoy…

Raspberry Hot Chocolate Recipe

Fruit and chocolate are a match made in heaven. So, it’s no surprise that this raspberry hot chocolate recipe is nothing short of amazing.

Give it a try…

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces (roughly 3 1/2 cups) fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Mini marshmallows or whipped cream, for topping

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the raspberries, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil then boil for 3-5 minutes or until the raspberries are cooked down and the mixture thickens.
  2. Remove from the heat and push through a strainer or sieve, discarding the seeds left behind. You should have roughly 1 cup puree.
  3. In another medium saucepan, heat the milk until hot (but not boiling).
  4. Whisk in the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and raspberry puree. Serve immediately.
  5. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream.

Recipe Source:
https://www.chocolatemoosey.com/2014/12/29/raspberry-hot-chocolate/

Vegan Chai Hot Chocolate Recipe

Hot chai tea or a steaming cup of cocoa…how can you possibly choose? The good news is that with this recipe you don’t have to! Get the best of both worlds by mixing up this vegan chai hot chocolate recipe.

Check it out…

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vanilla almond milk, sweetened
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chai Spice

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium size saucepan.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil and stir until spices and cocoa powder have dissolved.
  3. Reduce heat and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe source:
https://fitfoodiefinds.com/2014/09/vegan-chai-hot-chocolate/#_a5y_p=2519397

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate Recipe

This red velvet hot chocolate recipe combines two classics–a traditional cup of hot chocolate and the delicious taste of red velvet cake. And boy is it delicious! “Have your cake and drink it too” with this tasty drink.

Give it a try…

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/2 teaspoon red gel no-taste food coloring

Ingredients for whipping cream:

  • Vanilla sugar
  • Vanilla sugar whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (No vanilla sugar? Add regular sugar and a drop of vanilla extract)

Directions:

For whipped cream:

  1. Add heavy cream and vanilla sugar to a cold metal bowl. Either whip by hand with whisk or with hand-held mixer until soft peaks form.

For hot chocolate:

  1. In a small pan, combine milk, chocolate morsels and food coloring. Gently simmer until hot and all the chocolate is melted.
  2. Top with freshly whipped cream.

Recipe Source:
http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/850687/red-velvet-hot-chocolate-recipe

What’s your favorite hot cocoa recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!

Ask the Doctor- What Are My Reconstruction Options Using Only My Tissue?

This week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question: I am 39 years old and seeking options regarding a double mastectomy with reconstruction using only my own tissue. I was treated for an aggressive breast cancer in my left breast 3 years ago; went through neoadjuvant chemo, then a lumpectomy followed by radiation. Due to my lifetime high-risk status, I feel a double mastectomy is necessary using my own tissue for reconstruction.

Answer: Thank you for your question, I am glad to hear that you have completed your breast cancer treatment 3 years ago and are doing well. It is very likely that using your own natural tissue is going to be a very good option for you.

Since you have already had radiation on one side the option of removing the remaining breast tissue and having a preventive mastectomy on the other side is the most effective option to minimize your chance of getting breast cancer again.

Although I imagine it is already very low. Have you had any previous surgery on your tummy? Do you feel that you have extra fatty tissue there or any other area of your body? If so then you can probably achieve a proportional natural tissue result without having to sacrifice your important muscles.

If you like I could arrange a convenient time to answer any other questions by phone. Let me know and I’ll have one of my staff contact you to make arrangements.

Thanks again.

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!

5 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress

Joy, excitement, anticipation…and stress.  These are four very common emotions that run high during the  holiday season. And in all honesty, we could do without the fourth one–stress.

After all, having a panic attack in the middle of singing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is not fun for anyone.

If we desire joy, peace, and happiness, why is it that we let ourselves succumb to the madness of the season?

We believe there are two major reasons.

  1. We focus so much on others and forget to take care of our own needs.
  2. We get caught up in the whirlwind of holiday activities and forget to take a moment to breathe.

If you’re looking to take the stress out of the holiday season this year, we recommend you take to heart the following tips….

Tip #1 — Make Time for  Self-Care

It’s the season of giving. And trust us, there’s nothing more wonderful than giving your time, attention, and resources to others.

That being said, it’s not okay to forget about yourself.

Self-care is necessary if you want to keep stress levels low and be able to remain calm when the cat knocks all the ornaments off the tree or when your in-laws have overstayed their welcome.

Make time every day to do something for you–whether it be making a meal you love, sitting down with a good book, or watching your favorite television show.

We promise, there’s nothing wrong with asking your partner to bake the cookies for your kid’s class party or saying no to an event so you have time to stay home and relax.

Tip #2 — Say No to Things You Don’t Want to Do/Don’t Have Time For

Between organizing parties, attending events, hosting fundraisers, and other activities, there’s a lot on your schedule during the holidays.

It’s easy to overbook yourself…especially if you’re a people pleaser who doesn’t want to disappoint. But, the reality is, you just can’t do it all without getting stressed out.

This year, say no to the things that you don’t want to do or don’t have time for.

Your office holiday party will still be a hit even if the cupcakes you bring are store-bought instead of homemade, and your town’s holiday festival will still go on without your presence.

Slim down your schedule this year, and you’ll find the season much more enjoyable. We promise.

Tip #3 — Get Organized

One of the best ways to manage holiday stress is to get organized. And even at this point in the month, there’s plenty you can do to get ahead before overwhelm and stress get too out of hand.

Here are a few ideas…

  • Sweet lovers–Schedule a grocery trip to get all of your baking supplies at once. Store it in your pantry so it’s ready whenever you get the itch to bake.
  • Party attendees–Make sure you place all your events on a calendar so you can clearly see how your time is scheduled.
  • Gift givers–Make a list of all the gifts you’ll be purchasing this year. Then schedule a shopping day to get all your shopping done.

We recently wrote a post on ways to get organized for the holiday season. Check out some additional ideas and read the blog here.

Tip #4 — Keep Things Simple

There’s no need to overcomplicate things during the holidays. Yet, it’s something too many of us seem to do (especially after reading Southern Living or a lifestyle blog that makes you want to wow friends and family and attempt your own centerpiece made out of fruit).

Fret not, overachiever. Here are a few ways to keep it simple and lower your stress levels:

  • If you love baking, but don’t have time to make everything from scratch, buy premade cookie dough.
  • If you want to give your loved ones gifts this year, but are stressing out over what to buy them, give them money or gift cards.
  • If you’re hosting a holiday party, but are worried about making dinner and prepping for all those people, have the event catered.

You get the idea…keep it simple!

Tip #5 — Practice Meditation or Deep Breathing Exercises

Meditation and deep breathing exercises are scientifically proven to clear your mind, slow your heart rate, and reduce your stress levels.

If you’re feeling stressed, try to practice some form of meditation each day.

Not sure where to start?

We recommend taking a yoga class or a meditation/wellness class in your community.

Or, if you’re looking for a free option, check out YouTube. Search for “yoga instruction” or “deep breathing exercises,” and pages of free videos will pop up for you to use.

What do you do to stay stress-free during this busy season? Let us know in the comments below!