Debunking 5 Misconceptions about Breast Reconstruction

“Breast cancer” are two of the scariest words for women. Adding to the pain and fear, options for breast reconstruction after a full or partial mastectomy or lumpectomy are fraught with myths and misinformation.

That’s why it’s important for women to separate the facts about breast reconstruction from the myths and mistruths, and make informed decisions that improve their health and self-image.

Here are five common misconceptions about breast reconstruction that need to be debunked.

  1. Breast Reconstruction Is Only for Complete Mastectomies

Breast reconstruction is not just for women who have had the mastectomy procedure. Because breast reconstruction has come a long way medically in recent years, more and more women are eligible, even if they have only had a lumpectomy. Of course, an individual’s health and history play a part as well, but options are more available than ever.

  1.  Breast Reconstruction Equals Artificial Implants

Good news for women who want to remain all-natural and still have reconstructed breasts: reconstruction methods nowadays offer the opportunity to obtain natural tissues from the woman’s own body, including her thigh, tummy or even rear end. Known as autologous breast reconstruction, these methods are constantly evolving through science and technology and, as a result, are becoming safer and more successful.

  1.  If I Have Chemotherapy or Radiation, I Am Not Eligible for Breast Reconstruction

Many women believe that if they opted to undergo radiation or chemotherapy as a form of breast cancer treatment (or if they plan to undergo such treatments in the future), it will render them ineligible for breast reconstruction. While it is true that certain treatments can mean limitations – again, this depends on the individual woman’s health and history – it does not mean reconstruction is impossible. Many times radiation will force a delay in reconstruction, but not prevent it altogether. This is a subject for each individual patient and her doctors to discuss.

  1.  After a Certain Age, Breast Reconstruction Is Not Possible

Even a woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer in the later years of life can still opt to seek breast reconstruction. While it is true that the body heals differently in our “golden years”, age should not be a factor when considering breast reconstruction, primarily because older women can still benefit from improved self-esteem following reconstruction. Federal law requires most insurance plans to cover breast reconstruction after mastectomy, irrespective of the age of the patient.

  1.  Breast Reconstruction Hinders Diagnosing the Return of Cancer

After successfully battling breast cancer, the idea of a recurrence is scary, but that fear should not deter women from seeking breast reconstruction. While it is true that certain factors can affect the risk of recurring cancer, breast reconstruction neither increases nor decreases the risk, according to the American Cancer Society.

To learn more about natural breast reconstruction and find out if it might be the right choice for you, contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction at NaturalBreastReconstruction.com or toll-free at (866) 374-2627

Q & A

Posted Question:
I had a Latissimus dorsi double mastectomy reconstruction in 2013. I have since lost a lot of weight – about 50 pounds – and I now feel that my breasts are too big. I feel really self-conscious. Is it possible to have a reduction after this type of surgery?

Dr.’s Answer:
Yes, it is usually possible to do a reduction in some fashion. Latissimus flaps are commonly used with implants, and it’s possible your implants could just be downsized. Alternatively, it may be better or necessary to remove some flap tissue as well. It would be difficult to make more specific recommendations without doing an actual exam and getting a few more details, but I’m willing to bet you have some good options.

In Her Words

I had my Stage 1 DIEP in Charleston with Drs. Kline and Craigie on May 25, 2018. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate my experience a 12! Before I go into more detail about my Charleston experience though, let me go back in time a little bit. I had my first unilateral mastectomy in 1998 (right side) with a reduction on the left side and immediate expanders.

A while later, I had the exchange for the permanent implants. This was all done in Atlanta, Georgia. The process was painful and inconvenient, took more than a year and was a complete flop. My right breast was half the size of the left, terribly scarred and deformed. The left breast was oddly shaped and had a very bad, fat scar underneath, and was hard.

The consequences of my low self-esteem led to intimacy problems with my husband, which resulted in divorce. Several attempts by different plastic surgeons only made the appearance of my breasts worse. The emotional consequences became compounded. In short, I felt like a freak. Dating was a concept I couldn’t even fathom – I was so self-conscious about my looks.

One day, 13 years after my first botched surgery, I saw a program on TV that discussed new procedures for reconstruction surgery after mastectomy. I immediately went online to research the DIEP procedure and decided to look into the facilities in Charleston. I was certain that Charleston was the right fit for me. Drs. Kline and Craigie are artists, and their highly trained staff made each and every step of the procedure flawless. Their attention to detail made me feel secure before, during and after. I’m about four months out from Stage 1 now. In those short months, my life has been transformed.

I haven’t had my stage 2 yet – that comes next month – but already I’m walking around with my head up and my shoulders back! My breasts look great. They are soft and warm, and it’s great to have those implants out. I would also like to add, if you are a single woman contemplating a location for reconstructive surgery, I highly recommend Charleston. The entire staff has a special sensitivity for those of us flying solo now.

–B.L., Thomasville, GA

4 Methods of Natural Breast Reconstruction

natural breast reconstruction methodsFor many women, a breast cancer diagnosis means a transformation, since both full and partial mastectomies are common as a way to rid the body of malignant tissues. These surgeries can leave a woman feeling uncertain or insecure about the changes.

Fortunately, there are options to help.

Perhaps you have heard the phrase “natural breast reconstruction” and wanted to know more about it. The term actually covers several different procedures, from improving the contour of scars left by mastectomies to even a natural alternative to breast implants. Natural breast reconstruction is a method of taking tissue from your own body to rebuild your breasts and the area around them. Tissue may be taken from a few different areas of the body. Here are a few methods of transferring tissue.

GAP Flap

In this procedure, also known as the gluteal artery perforator procedure, tissue is taken from the patient’s buttock area to create the breast mound. The muscles of the buttocks are left intact, and any extra tissue from either the upper or lower area (from “love handles” to “saddle bags”) can be considered. A GAP procedure is particularly useful for ladies who do not have excess body fat in other areas.

PAP Flap

Also known as the profunda artery perforator flap, this procedure takes tissue from the patient’s upper thigh to recreate the breast mound. Scars are hidden in the crease of the inner thigh, and only skin and fat are transferred.

DIEP Flap

Short for the deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap, this popular procedure takes tissue from the patient’s abdomen to create the breast mound. Not only is the muscle of the abdomen left intact, many patients like the DIEP for the “bonus” result of having a tighter tummy.

SIEA Flap

Also known as the superficial inferior epigastric artery flap, this procedure is very similar to the DIEP flap (tissue is taken from the tummy); however, it is used only for a small percentage of women whose abdominal blood supply comes from the SIEA artery.

These procedures are not an exhaustive list of methods in which tissue can be obtained; other areas of the body, such as underneath the arm or even on the hip may also be reformed as breast tissue. Furthermore, surgeons are working daily to improve the art of natural breast reconstruction. Sensory improvement, for example, means reconstructing the nerves in the tissue used to build the breast, and repairing these nerves can mean better sensory response.

While it is true that most surgeons are able to reconstruct a breast, only a few surgeons have had extensive experience with natural breast reconstruction. The procedures listed above all involve transferring body tissue without damaging surrounding tissues or sacrificing much needed muscle. Should a patient be interested in these procedures, proper research is the key to finding a surgeon who is credible and able to successfully perform natural breast reconstruction.

To learn more about natural breast reconstruction and find out if it might be the right choice for you, contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction at NaturalBreastReconstruction.com or toll-free at 1-866-374-2627.

Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction team wants to wish our patients and readers Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

It is such a joy to have friends, former patients, and current clients reaching out to us during this time.  Check out these two fun cards we’ve received!  Thank you all very much for the goodies you’ve dropped by – we’re enjoying every good thing! 

This has been a truly amazing year—our patients are such an inspiration to us, and we’re so grateful to be able to do what we do.   

Our office will be closed on Monday, December 25 and Tuesday, December 26, 2017 for Christmas and on Monday, January 1, 2018 for New Year’s Day.   If you have an emergency,  call our main number 843-849-8418 and you will be directed to the clinician on call.   Use our “Ask the Doctor”  link on our website www.naturalbreastreconstruction.com if you would like to make a New Patient appointment or have a general question about our services.  We’ll be answering those questions – even over the break. 

We hope everyone has a beautiful holiday and we look forward to seeing what 2018 has in store for us all!

 

Happy Holidays,

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction Team 

 

Finding Beauty After Breast Cancer: Register for a Free Class at Sephora

 

 Our surgeons and staff at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction know firsthand how difficult a battle with breast cancer can be.

From the moment you’re diagnosed, everything changes. Your emotional, mental, and psychological health is instantly impacted. And throughout your breast cancer journey, your physical appearance is also bound to change.

This transformation can unfortunately leave a lot of woman no longer feeling confident in their own skin.

While we believe that all women—no matter their journey—are beautiful, we also know that a little pampering and some fun with makeup can go a long way in making you feel radiant and confident.

With National Breast Cancer Awareness month in full swing, there are numerous educational talks, fundraisers, and events going on. If you’re in the Charleston, SC, area, we’d like to personally invite you to a special event at Sephora on King Street.

We are joining forces with Sephora in order to promote their FREE Brave Beauty class for women who have battled cancer.

The event will take place on Sunday, October 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sephora on King Street. The official address is 289 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401.

This 90-minute Brave Beauty class is designed to help you discover techniques and products that address the visible effects of your cancer treatments.

During this event, you’ll be given skincare tips tailored to your needs and then will be matched with Color IQ and receive step-by-step instructions for a creating a radiant complexion, natural-looking brows, and defined eyes.

If you’re interested in attending, we encourage you to check out this awesome video from Sephora that features cancer survivor Emily as she explains why attending a Brave Beauty class is a great way to celebrate how beautiful you truly are.

Watch the video here!

If you’re interested in signing up, please contact us at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction to register, and we will pass your information along to the event host.

You can get in touch with us here.

Do you have any tips or tricks for feeling confident and radiant after a battle with cancer?

Share them with us in the comments below!

Summer Surgery Tips and Suggestions from Nurse Chris

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Chris in Ireland

Our nurse, Chris Murakami, just returned from a wonderful vacation in Ireland and wanted to share some tips about sun and surgery with our readers!

Planning surgery during the summer months?

Here are some things to remember during vacations, trips to the beach, boating, or simply working in the yard.

It is very important to avoid becoming sunburned before surgery. It is quite possible you could be asked to postpone your surgery depending on the nature of the procedure and the degree of sunburn.  Many of our patients put a great deal of research and planning into scheduling surgery.  Making travel plans, arranging time off of work, and obtaining care givers is no easy task!  We’re here to help you keep your surgery plan on track.

Avoiding sun exposure immediately after surgery is equally important.  You are more likely to burn during that time period especially in areas that blood flow has been disrupted. Keep in mind your sensitivity to heat can be diminished so you might not realize that you are getting burned.

Submerging your body in standing water should not be done until all incisions are completely healed.  This typically takes as long as three to four weeks, but be sure that there is no open or draining area nor any remaining sutures before considering that summer swim.   There are micro-organisms out there that can cause infections and your intact skin normally provides a natural barrier.   You should always avoid the ocean, lakes, rivers, pools, hot tubs etc. whenever you have open wounds – surgical or traumatic.

As far as long term care, try to avoid sun exposure to both your incision lines and any bruised areas. The sun can turn your scars and skin dark if they are exposed before they completely heal or mature. This process typically takes about a year to happen for the surgical scar.  A good guideline is to wait until the scar is no longer pink before considering sun exposure.

Having surgery does not mean that you can’t enjoy the remainder of your summer!   Just be prepared. Stay in the shade as much as possible.  Hats, umbrellas, and sunblock are a must during pre and post-surgical weeks.  And remember, when you are out in the sun and heat, always stay well hydrated! – Have a great Summer! – Chris

Do you have a summer surgery tip to share with our readers?

Congratulations to the Class of 2016!!

Grad cap red

I’ve been in a bit of a stupor the past few weeks as my youngest is getting ready to graduate from high school and preparing to leave home for college in the fall.  It alternates between rambling on and on about scholarships, financial aid, school choices, to just standing, staring off into space not able to speak because it’s a bit surreal that my baby girl is ready to make her place in the world.  Not to mention, the constant feeling of being on the edge of a very long, very ugly cry.

Given that my current situation is what’s weighing on my mind right now it seemed natural to ask graduates what they want their parent to know and how that might differ from what the parents want their student to know.   I posed this question to a group of college bound seniors who will graduate June 1, 2016.  Some answers were funny, some sweet and reassuring but all in all do address some of our concerns as parents.

What is the one thing that you would like to tell your parent to help ease their mind and assure them that you are prepared and ready to go to college? 

– Parker also assures his parents that “I’m not going to spend all my study hours playing video games! I promise!  God!”

-Terry knows that “Uber saves lives.”  Smart boy!

-J.J. says beer tastes gross and Parker adds that it goes through your system too quickly.

-Alexandria appreciates learning some basic life skills!  “Thanks for teaching me how to do laundry!”

-Zachary tells us that his parent already knows his future college roommate.  We’re assuming that is a positive statement.  

-Simply stated Eli says “I got this!”

-Anizia thanks her parent for helping her become a mature, independent adult capable of taking care of herself.

-Ashton acknowledges the hard work it takes to be a parent. “I appreciate all the hard work and endless nights towards making me become the successful young lady I am today and I will not underestimate my gift and knowledge to surpass all obstacles.

-Bailey affirms that her parents have taught her well and helped her make good decisions and now she knows how to make good decisions on her own.

-Jonathan shares this “It’s time to for me to grow up in a new and unknown world. You have prepared me for this since I was being held in your arms. But it’s now time to find who I truly am. I will make mistakes, I guarantee it. But it’s you who has taught me to learn from every experience. So thank you.”

-Maddie adds with a smile emoticon that she is ready for this time in her life and reminds her parents that she will always be their little girl.

There are conversations that we parents all want to have with our graduates but somehow don’t seem to be able to do so without coming off as overbearing, nagging, or simply more involved than we are desired to be at this point in our students lives.  So, graduating seniors, bear with your parents as we try to make sure we have taught you and told you everything that we feel like you need to know in the next few months before you leave home.

Your well-being and success in college is our only concern.  We just need to know that you are going to be okay.   We need to know that we did a good job raising you and that you are able to make good, intelligent, and safe choices.   We need to know that you understand that you are going to college for a purpose, not just a party.  Have fun but be smart and keep your studies your number one priority.  We need to know that you feel equipped to handle most of the things we have always done for you – kept your schedule posted on the fridge, given reminders of your commitments, emphasized the importance of your schoolwork, handled your finances, filled out your forms, washed your laundry.    We don’t want you to be scared of new experiences.  We want you to make lifelong friends and we want to be confident in your ability to do so.

Ultimately, we hope you come out of your college experience a happy, productive adult ready to embark on a career that is meaningful to you and allows you to support yourself in the manner that you desire.   That is all. – Gail

 

Our resident Canadian Geese are back and are expecting!

 

It’s  “Baby Watch” 2016 at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction!!!

 

 Meet Edith and Archie. These beautiful geese reside outside of our Mt. Pleasant office.  Edith began resting on her nest just a few weeks ago with her mate Archie right by her side protecting her and their eggs from harm.  Believe me, Archie will let you know when you get too close for comfort.  This picture was taken while he was warning me!    

We’ll keep an eye out on them over the next few months and share their progress aloing with lots of photos once the babies arrive.    

Keep watching & Happy Spring!!  

 

Gail

Our residents Edith and Archie                         archie goose

Things to do – Independence Day 2015 in South Carolina

(Thanks to AppleOne Employment Services for sending this fantastic Weekend Recs e-blast for us to share!) 

Charleston

Fourth of July Fireworks on Folly Beachindependence day

 A holiday tradition on the Edge of America, the annual 4th of July fireworks display is set to take place on Folly Beach next Saturday. The fireworks will be set off at the Folly Beach County Park, at the west end of the island. Locals and visitors are invited to enjoy the Independence Day display, which will begin at 9:30pm. For more information about the 4th of July fireworks display on Folly Beach, please go to www.visitfolly.com or download the free ‘Visit Folly’ smart phone app.

When: 7/4/15 starting at 9:30pm

Where: Folly Beach-Folly Beach County Park- West end of Island

 

July Fourth on the Pride

Enjoy this Fourth of July with a sunset sail while watching the fireworks from the best seat in the house! Beer and wine will be available for purchase. Bring a snack or picnic aboard if you choose. Buy tickets by calling the number provided (843-722-1112) or visiting the website: http://www.schoonerpride.com/

When: 7/4/15 from 7pm to 9pm

Where: The Schooner Pride-Aquarium Wharf

Admission: $55 per person-book now as space is limited

 

North Charleston 4th of July Festival

The City of North Charleston is once again hosting the July 4th celebration at the Riverfront Park on July 4, 2015 from 3:30 PM – 9:45 PM. This year’s event features exciting musical guests, children activities, food trucks, craft vendors, and the Lowcountry’s largest 4th of July fireworks show. The Festival is presented free of charge to the public with all general admission for attendees. Guests attending the Festival are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets, as there is no seating provided. Food trucks, beer and wine stations, and ATMs will be widely available. Children activities are available free of charge, including inflatable jump castles, games, the play area, the giant sandbox, and the water fountain. Beer and wine stations will be set up throughout the park, as well as ATMs for participants. For more information, please visit the website: http://www.northcharleston.org/Residents/Special-Events/4th-of-July-Festival.aspx

Festival performance schedule:
3:30 – Gates open
3:30 – Soul Fish (rock quartet)
5:00 – Blacklion (reggae)
6:30 – Dangermuffin (Americana)
8:00 – Funk Factory 5 (Mo-town/Top 40)
9:10 – Spectacular Fireworks show by Zambelli’s

When: 7/4/15 from 3:30pm to 9:45pm

Where: Riverfront Park-1001 Everglades Avenue, North Charleston

 

Patriots Point 4th of July Blast

 For those who want to enjoy the fireworks on the Yorktown, all Flight deck tickets are now SOLD OUT, but visitors are still allowed to watch the event landside and enjoy the celebration there! Parking is $10/vehicle.

When: 7/4/15 starting about 9pm

Where: Patriots Point40 Patriots Point Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

 

Columbia

Lake Murray Fireworks Celebration

Beginning at dusk (approximately 9:15 pm) South Carolina’s largest fireworks display on beautiful Lake Murray. Fireworks will be set off from two great locations: Spence Island and Dreher Island State Park. The show is choreographed to a patriotic concert that will air simultaneously on B106.7. The best places to view the fireworks are Dreher Island State Park and both parks at the Lake Murray dam. Bring a chair or blanket, picnics are welcomed- NO Alcohol Permitted at any of the locations.

Admission (based on park):

Dreher Island State Park– $2 for adults, $1.25 SC Seniors, FREE for children 15 years and younger (Gates close at 8pm).

Lake Murray Dam park sites– open until they reach capacity- $3 per car.

The walking path on the dam will also be open. (Fireworks DO NOT launch from the park sites at the dam).

 

When: July 04, 2015 from 9pm to 10:30pm
Admission: Admission Based on Park

 

Lake Murray Patriotic Boat Parade

 Get ready for the 26th Annual 4th of July Celebration on Lake Murray on Saturday, July 4th!! CCLMC is trying to break our all-time record this year with over 150 boats and inclusion within the Guinness Book of World Records! We hope that you and your family will join us and participate to make this a special year! For more information, please visit the website: http://www.lakemurraycountry.com/things-to-do/events/lake-murray-boat-parade

 When: July 04, 2015 from 12pm to 3pm
Where: Bomb Island, Lake Murray, SC 29072
Admission: Free, but if watching from Lake Murray Dam park sites admissions is $2/car

 

Slide the City and Capital City Beach Party!

 Columbia is Famously Hot, so we’re bringing you a Surprisingly Cool way to have fun this Independence Day while supporting 2 great causes!  Slide the City is a 1000 foot water slide that will go from Blanding & Gadsden to Hampton & Gadsden Streets.  The chosen charities SC Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation will benefit each time you purchase a registration using the promo code FREEDOM, and you will receive $5 off! After you slide, go check out the Capital City Beach Party beginning in Finlay Park at 2PM. Water and Food vendors will be available for purchase at noon. Want to slide for free while helping out the charities? Sign up as a volunteer here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/slide-the-city-columbia-sc-volnteer-tickets-17332899168

When: July 04, 2015 starting at 11am
Where: Finlay Park-930 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201

Greenville

Wells Fargo Red, White and Blue Festival

A barrage of colors illuminates the sky every 4th of July in downtown Greenville for the annual Wells Fargo Red, White and Blue, presented by AT&T. As one of the largest fireworks displays in South Carolina, the celebration features live music, food and a variety of family activities. A long-standing tradition, Wells Fargo Red, White & Blue represents a remarkable opportunity to support a free patriotic event that is enjoyed by the Greenville community. Sponsors have long recognized this event as a unique way to showcase their brand while enjoying hospitality and a celebration that only happens once a year. Wells Fargo Red, White and Blue presented by AT&T is Greenville’s premier 4th of July celebration, showcasing one of the state’s largest fireworks displays, sponsored by Bon Secours St. Francis Health System. The free event, scheduled for Saturday, July 4, 2015, from 5 to 10 p.m., features live music on two stages, fun-filled activities in the Zaxby’s Kidz Zone and a variety of popular food and beverage vendors. The event takes place in downtown Greenville from Court to Camperdown Streets and will encompass Broad Street, from Laurens to Falls Streets, and Falls Park.

When: 7/4/2015 from 5pm to 10:30pm

Where: City of Greenville-Downtown Greenville

 

Red, White and Bluegrass

Red, White and Bluegrass is a FREE 4th of July Celebration in downtown Fountain Inn. This event will begin at 7:00 p.m. with two bands performing: Justice Family Bluegrass Band and the Upstate Senior Band. Fireworks will begin at dark. There will be food, Italian ice and craft beer for purchase. We will have a special time to honor all veterans at this event. For more information, please visit the website: http://www.fountaininn.org/scs

When: 7/4/2015 starting at 7pm

Where: City of Fountain Inn-Commerce Park-110 Depot Street, Fountain Inn, SC 29644

Admission: Free!

 

A Night with Darryl Worley

 Honoring our heroes. Gates open at 5pm. Music starts at 6 pm.

Admission is free for military & first responders (military personnel, retired military personnel, police, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians). Regular admission is $20 per car (maximum 6 people per car). **Going on now!** Soldier care package campaign to collect items for local soldiers serving overseas. For more information and to get involved, see website. Collection total will be announced at the Darryl Worley concert to honor heroes on July 4th! Concert tickets on sale NOW! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: http://charterspectrumamphitheatre.com/event/a-night-with-darryl-worley/

When: 7/4/2015- Gates open at 5pm, Music at 6pm

Where: Charter Spectrum Amphitheatre-861 Southeast Main Street, Simpsonville, SC 29681

Admission: $20/car

How do you plan to celebrate? We’d love for you to share suggestions with our readers!