Spotlight on Upstate Women’s Show

Image above taken from the Upstate Women’s Show website.

The 4th annual Upstate Women’s Show takes place August 26–28 at the TD Convention Center (formerly the Carolina First Center) in Greenville, SC. For three days, women can shop, watch fashion shows, attend cooking and fitness demonstrations, and just have fun with other women. Whether you’re a teen, a single woman, a mom, or a retiree, you’ll find plenty of fun, treats, and excitement at the show.

Over 300 vendors will show and demonstrate their products for women, and the exhibitor list includes Aloette Cosmetics, Carolina Pet Chef, Massage Envy, Chocolate Dreams, and The Children’s Museum. Products and services available range from jewelry to closet organization systems and baby gifts to a variety of artwork.

One of the exhibitors, My Girlfriend’s Closet, is working with Safe Harbor, an organization that helps women and children in need. If you drop off gently used accessories at Safe Harbor’s booth, you’ll receive a coupon for My Girlfriend’s Closet, and proceeds go to Safe Harbor.

Special areas of the show include . . .

  • Corley Entertainment Stage, with fashion shows, music, and comedy.
  • BI-LO Cooking Stage, with live cooking demonstrations.
  • Lift Your Spirits, a sampling area for wine and cuisine.
  • Cureton Photography Booth, offering free photos.
  • Go Active! Kids Area, with crafts, games, and sports.
  • Haywood Hall Man Cave, a lounge for the men to hang out while you explore.

The day wouldn’t be complete without some fun contests. To win a free bedroom makeover with Vern Yip of HGTV, visit from August 8–19 and upload a picture of your bedroom. Listeners will vote on the top three bedrooms that need a makeover, and Vern will choose the winner, who will receive a 15-minute consultation, a $1,000 gift certificate, and a queen mattress set.

Win an iPad on the SCBT Treasure Hunt. You’ll find a playing card in the bag you receive at the show. Visit the booths of the 8 sponsors on the card, and return it to the SCBT booth to enter the drawing.

The Upstate Women’s Show runs Friday, August 26 and Saturday, August 27 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, August 28 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is $5, and tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 6–12. To save $2 on admission, bring 5 canned goods for Harvest Hope Food Bank.

For more information, visit

Don’t Live in Charleston But Still Want a State-of-the-Art Breast Reconstruction?

Chris MurakamiThe question below is answered by Chris Murakami, RN, CNOR, and Clinical Supervisor (seen to the left) of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.

I live in Florida and would like to come to Charleston to have a bilateral S-GAP by Dr. Kline and Dr. Craigie. Do I need to come in for a consultation first and then come back at a later date to have the surgery or can it be done all in one trip? Please tell me how this is typically handled.

Great question! There are many ways to approach this situation and do our best to try to minimize the number of trips you need to make to Charleston. You are more than welcome to come and have a face to face consult with your surgeon and then make a second trip for surgery. For some women, that is the scenario they prefer. However, since many of our patients do have to travel to access the state-of-the-art procedures offered by our expert surgeons, we’re prepared to perform your first consultation by telephone.

During this call, we talk about the procedure you are interested in and ask some screening questions to ensure you have no medical contraindication. Once this has been established, we’ll set up a time for you to talk with the surgeon of your choice and you’ll both decide which donor site might be the best to use for your breast reconstruction. Your next step would be to notify us when you would like to proceed with the surgical procedure.

When we’ve settled on a surgical date, we order as much of your pre-operative testing in your hometown as we can. The results of this testing is sent to our office two weeks prior to your surgery day. These tests include blood work, urinalysis, EKG, and Chest X-ray. Go ahead and schedule a full physical with your family doctor or internal medicine doctor and obtain a statement of medical clearance for your estimated length of surgical time.

While all of this medical work is happening, our administrative staff has been diligently working behind the scenes, checking insurance benefits and completing all of the pre-certification processes your insurance company may require.

We’d like you to arrive in Charleston a day or two prior to your surgery date. If a breast surgeon is needed to perform a mastectomy we ask you to come two days prior. You would meet with him / her on the day you arrive, in case any testing needs to be ordered by their office.

The day prior to your surgery date is usually the busiest for you, but we try to coordinate all of your pre-operative activities to be as convenient as possible. You would have various appointments scheduled for you, including a pre-operative interview at the surgical hospital, an MRA to map the blood vessels we plan to use for surgery, and a pre-operative marking appointment and consultation with our surgeon that day before surgery.

Once the surgery day arrives, you would report to the hospital at 6:00 am. Our staff and physicians will obtain contact information for your caregivers and keep them updated on the progress of your surgery throughout your time in the operating room. Once the operation has completed and you have recovered from anesthesia, you would be transferred to the women’s services floor of the hospital for the remainder of your four-day hospitalization. Each room is private and has a twin bed in case you have someone who plans to stay with you throughout your hospital stay.

When you have been discharged from the hospital, we ask that you stay in the Charleston area for a few more days, just to assure all is well and we are easily accessible to you. We ask you to come to your first post operative appointment two days after your discharge and again on the day prior to your planned return home. You may still have donor site drains that need to be removed when you return home and we are happy to help you find a medical professional to do that for you if you don’t have a physician in your hometown who is willing to help.

Once you are home, we’re available to you 24/7 to discuss any concerns you may have, but generally, at this point, you have a viable reconstruction that should heal uneventfully. You can look forward to another visit to Charleston only when or if you require a second stage of surgery after a three-month healing period. This procedure would typically be an outpatient procedure and you might just schedule yourself some “tourist time” to enjoy our beautiful city.

—Chris Murakami, RN, CNOR, Clinical Supervisor

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What is an MRA and What is it For?

Dr. Richard M. Kline, Jr.

The below question is answered by Richard M. Kline Jr., M.D., of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.

Why am I scheduled to have a MRA prior to my DIEP surgery? What is it and what is it for?

Preoperative imaging of perforating vessels by CTA (computerized tomographic angiogram) or MRA (magnetic resonance angiogram) is probably the most significant development in perforator flap breast reconstruction in the last 5 – 10 years.

Some of the potential advantages of preoperative imaging (with CTA or MRA) include:

1. Shortened operating time, due to knowing in advance where the desired perforating vessels are located.

2. Decreased damage to the rectus muscle, due to being able to select perforating vessels with the shortest intramuscular course. This is particularly important because it can decrease the chance of a major motor nerve to the muscle being divided. A few fortunate patients have an unusual anatomic situation in which a large perforating vessel actually goes between the two muscles, which can allow harvest with no damage to the muscle at all; this is instantly recognizable on preoperative imaging.

3. Decreased fat necrosis, due to being able to select the largest perforator.

4. Advanced recognition of those few cases when the SIEA, not the DIEP, might actually be the preferred blood supply for the flap (the same tissue would still be used)

5. Advanced recognition of those very rare instances where the deep inferior epigastric system has been divided form past surgery, or where all usable perforating vessels have been damaged by previous abdominal liposuction.

CTA has the advantage of being most readily available, but also exposes the patient to radiation. MRA does not expose the patient to radiation, but we have found that only a very strong MRI (3 tesla, or 3T) can give us images with enough detail to be really useful for preoperative planning. MRA still requires the administration of intravenous contrast agents, which can rarely have undesirable side effects. On the horizon is MRA without the need for any injection—it’s not quite here yet, but its coming.

We are very fortunate to work with a very skilled group of radiologists with a 3T MRI who are very interested in and skilled at obtaining images for our breast flap patients. We obtain preoperative imaging on all patients preoperatively, whether they are scheduled for a DIEP or GAP flap. If a patient has a contraindication for an MRI / MRA (ferrous metal implanted in the body is the most common), then we obtain a CTA.

—Dr. Richard M. Kline, Jr.

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Healthy Brunch Ideas

healthy brunch ideasBrunch is the perfect time to eat healthy. From fruit to whole-grain muffins and Canadian bacon to turkey sausage, an endless variety of food works for brunch. We’ve come up with a dozen delicious options to help you stay on your healthy eating plan.

Multi-grain pancakes and waffles contain anything you want them to: oat, buckwheat, whole wheat, cornmeal, flax seed, or spelt. Use whole grains as much as possible, and don’t be afraid to add blueberries to those pancakes!

Whole-grain muffins give you the texture and taste you want in a healthier package. Use applesauce or mashed bananas to replace the fat during cooking, and use all-fruit spreads or nut butters on top.

Turkey bacon and sausage add low-fat protein and delicious flavor to quiches, casseroles, and scrambles.

Smoothies are the perfect way to blend your favorite fruits with protein powder, juice, yogurt, or even ice cream. Try several recipes, as there are hundreds of ways to make a tasty smoothie.

Tofu can replace meat in almost any dish. It can also be marinated and barbecued or used in place of cheese.

Canadian bacon has incredible flavor and one-third the calories of regular bacon. It’s also much lower in fat and sodium.

Vegetables of any kind add nutrition, color, and flavor to egg dishes, salads, and side items. Omelets and quiches are an ideal place for a variety of veggies. Try to eat as many different colors as possible to ensure you’re getting the full spectrum of antioxidants and nutrients.

Fruit is a brunch favorite and is used for everything from fresh-squeezed juice to tarts. Like vegetables, be sure to eat a variety to take advantage of the excellent nutrition fruit offers.

Nut and fruit butters and all-fruit spreads are healthy substitutes for butter and high-sugar jellies and jams. Choose from all-natural peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, apple butter, and spreadable fruit. All are available in stores, but read labels carefully: nut butters should have only one ingredient: the nut itself. Ingredients on the fruit butters and spreadable fruit will vary, but there should be only a few ingredients with no added syrup, sugar, or oils.

Quiche is a delicious, healthy main course, perfect for any type of food you want to put in it. Eggs, vegetables, meat, cheese, and tofu are common ingredients, and quiche invites experimentation with flavors, ingredients, and spices. A casserole is also a good option for a quick and easy brunch dish.

Wild or game meat adds unique flavor and healthy protein to any dish. Game is naturally low in fat, and does not receive antibiotics or hormones. Game meat includes venison, elk, bison, moose, alligator, and wild boar.

Real eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat and full of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Eggs are versatile and can be cooked a number of different ways: fried, scrambled, sunny side up, hard- and soft boiled, and poached.

Keep in mind that how you cook and serve is just as important as what you cook and serve. Stay away from partially hydrogenated oils, such as margarine. Coconut oil and olive oil are good choices for both cooking and serving. Real butter, low-sugar syrup, and cream cheese in moderation add a delightful taste to the table. And of course, stay away from high-fructose corn syrup.

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7 Ways to Beat Stress

stress reliefStress adversely affects every aspect of your life, from your health to your relationships. Many people don’t realize how stressful their lives are, and they don’t know how to deal with or reduce their stress. Let’s explore seven ways to improve your life by beating stress.

Determine your stressors.

We all have different areas of our lives that cause stress. While you may not be able to change stressful situations, by identifying your stressors, you can develop a plan to deal with them as effectively as possible. For example, if work causes stress, you can go to the gym after work to release tension with a workout, or leave the building for lunch to get away from your desk for a few minutes.

You might be able to change your response to stressors by altering the situation to make it easier to bear. For example, if visiting the doctor during the day is stressful because you need to go to work afterward, perhaps you can meet the doctor in the evening or on a weekend day. If you become agitated during rush hour traffic, try a new route or travel at a different time.

Avoid people, places, and things that upset you.

We all have people who make us uncomfortable or tasks we dislike doing. When those aggravations become stressful, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Rethink whether it’s necessary to have dinner with the neighbor who criticizes your cooking. Perhaps it makes sense to find an accountant to do your taxes or a detailer to wash your car. Delegating tasks and avoiding stressful people not only reduce your stress, but they also give you a marvelous feeling of freedom.

Know your limits.

Be realistic about your time and what you can do, and say no when you need to. When you’re at your limit, additional items on your to-do list become stressors. Stand your ground and be assertive when you need or want to say no.

Give yourself a treat.

Integrative therapies such as massage, reflexology, and aromatherapy help to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and relax you. They’re also fun and rejuvenating. Find a certified practitioner or visit a spa, keep an open mind, and give it a try.

Turn off the noise.

Unplug and spend at least 30 minutes alone and quiet every day. We’re all bombarded by technology and advertising, and it’s overwhelming. When you get away from the constant noise, you’ll feel your stress melt away. Spend that time doing what you enjoy, whether it’s a walk or a hot bubble bath. Unwind and enjoy.

Tune out negativity.

Do you really need to watch the 10 pm newscast each night or read the paper every day?  The news is mostly negative, which raises your stress levels. Your mind doesn’t need any more input on weather disasters or the latest political upheavals around the world. Don’t take on the world’s problems as your own. Rather than watch the news, find a comedy or cartoon to watch. Better yet, turn off the TV and read a book.

Experiment to find your best release.

Some women relieve stress by laughing or crying, and others find exercise or art to be their release valve. You may need to try a few different outlets to relieve stress, such as watching classic TV comedies, renting a movie that makes you cry, painting, or going to the gym. You may find one perfect stress reliever, or you may decide a combination of activities helps.

As you work through your stress, stay positive. Negativity is an unhealthy stressor and can creep into areas of your life that aren’t stressful. An upbeat attitude will do wonders to combat stress and help you feel healthy and at your best.

What do you do to combat stress?

How Long Should I Wait to Have a DIEP Flap After Radiation?

Dr. James Craigie

The below question is answered by Dr. James Craigie of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.

How long should I wait to have a DIEP flap after radiation?

Radiation therapy is part of the treatment of breast cancer and will affect the results of breast reconstruction. The treatments can miraculously kill some growing cancer cells but they also change the area of the body left behind after surgery.

All of the elements of the body can be affected: blood vessels, scarring, healing function, and appearance.  The effects of radiation occur in two phases. Short term occurs during and immediately after the treatments. Elective surgery at this time is not possible, for obvious reasons. The long term effects develop after the early “burn-like” injury “settles down.” The long term reaction occurs for approximately the first six months.

The experience can be widely different from one person to the next. We have experienced difficulties with the receiving blood vessels after radiation when we did not wait for the body to recover from both long and short term damage. These types of problems could possibly increase the chance for the new breast to fail. Avoiding these problems may be possible by waiting and that is why the long recovery is needed before reconstruction is started.

—Dr. James Craigie

How to Make Sure You and Your Doctor Communicate Effectively

breast reconstructionYour relationship with your doctor is a partnership, and one of the best ways you can help each other is to communicate effectively. You’ll avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings, and the two of you can quickly move forward in your treatment. When it’s time for your next appointment, using the following tips can make a positive difference in your relationship.

Always be as honest and as specific as possible.

Even if you’re uncomfortable, tell the truth—your doctor can’t successfully treat you otherwise. If you’re not sure how to answer a question, say so instead of guessing. Your answers should be as specific as possible, even if you need to add more information or ask questions before replying.

Don’t be afraid to ask or tell your doctor anything—he or she has literally heard it all.

Listen, and then ask questions.

Sometimes while the doctor is talking, patients have an emotional reaction that prevents them from hearing the rest of what the doctor has to say. Listen to everything the doctor says, try not to react right away and let it process for a moment, and then ask questions.

Note anything unusual, and write down your questions before you go.

Keep a calendar or day planner with you, and jot down any symptom that is unusual for you. The night before you go to the doctor, make a note of these symptoms as well as questions you have. Often we go to the doctor with a list of questions in our head, and then forget what we wanted to ask. This step will save time for both of you during the appointment.

Never ignore unusual pain, discharge, or bleeding. Contact your doctor immediately.

Tell your doctor about everything you take.

Make a list of your medications and any dietary supplements you take, including vitamins and aspirin. Be sure to note dosage size and frequency. Give the list to your doctor for your file, and send a copy to your pharmacist. Update these lists at least once or twice a year.

Don’t be offended by non-medical questions.

Your doctor might ask about your job or what you do on weekends, and this is not to pry, but to evaluate how your lifestyle might be affecting your health. Stress, eating habits, and alcohol consumption may be factors in your condition.

Let your doctor know if he or she doesn’t communicate well with you.

Your doctor needs to know if his or her communication style isn’t effective. Think back on your last few appointments. Did he or she say anything that upset you, and was everything explained in a way you could understand? Were you comfortable talking with him or her?

Give your doctor specific suggestions to improve your partnership. If you’re not comfortable doing that in person, send an email or leave a voice mail after hours on the doctor’s private line.

Your doctor is there to help you—and he or she can do a much better job when you have built a relationship based on trust and good communication. This process can take a little time but is well worth the effort.

What do you and your doctor do to create effective communication?

Will My Insurance Company Pay for a Mastectomy to Reduce My Risk of Breast Cancer?

health insuranceWe’re putting a little twist on our Ask the Doctor post today. We receive lots of great questions from patients; some are medical while others pertain to insurance, billing, and other-office related information. Today, I will be answering a popular question we receive regarding insurance.

I’d like to have a mastectomy to reduce my risk of breast cancer.  Will my insurance company pay for it?

Most insurance companies do have criteria under which they will consider a prophylactic mastectomy medically necessary—as a reminder, if they pay for your mastectomy they must also cover a reconstructive procedure of your choice. There are always exceptions to this rule, as outlined in WHCRA 1998, but this law does protect the majority of women insured in the United States.

I’ll highlight some of the actual criteria obtained from medical policy documents from some of the nation’s largest insurers. This is a pretty comprehensive list but it’s always a good idea to consult your plan’s medical policy documents to determine their specific coverage criteria prior to undergoing any medical / surgical procedure.

“BIG INSURANCE CO #1” covers prophylactic mastectomy as medically necessary for the treatment of individuals at high risk of developing breast cancer when any ONE of the following criteria is met:

Individuals with a personal history of cancer as noted below:

Individuals with a personal history of breast cancer when any ONE of the following criteria is met:

  • Diagnosed at age 45 or younger, regardless of family history.
  • Diagnosed at age 50 or younger and EITHER of the following:
    • At least one close blood relative with breast cancer at age 50 or younger.
    • At least one close blood relative with epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer.
  • Diagnosed with two breast primaries (includes bilateral disease or cases where there are two or more clearly separate ipsilateral primary tumors) when the first breast cancer diagnosis occurred prior to age 50.
  • Diagnosed at any age and there are at least two close blood relatives* with breast cancer or epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer diagnosed at any age.
  • Personal history of epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer.
  • Close male blood relative with breast cancer.
  • An individual of ethnicity associated with higher mutation frequency (e.g., founder populations of Ashkenazi Jewish, Icelandic, Swedish, Hungarian, or Dutch).
  • Development of invasive lobular or ductal carcinoma in the contralateral breast after electing surveillance for lobular carcinoma in situ of the ipsilateral breast.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ confirmed on biopsy.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ in the contralateral breast.
  • Diffuse indeterminate microcalcifications or dense tissue in the contralateral breast that is difficult to evaluate mammographically and clinically.
  • A large and / or ptotic, dense, disproportionately-sized contralateral breast that is difficult to reasonably match the ipsilateral cancerous breast treated with mastectomy and reconstruction.
  • Personal history of epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer.
  • Personal history of male breast cancer.

Individuals with no personal history of breast or epithelial ovarian cancer when any ONE of the following is met:

  • Known breast risk cancer antigen (BRCA1 or BRCA2), p53, or PTEN mutation confirmed by genetic testing.
  • Close blood relative with a known BRCA1, BRCA2, p53, or PTEN mutation.
  • First- or second-degree blood relative meeting any of the above criteria for individuals with a personal history of cancer.
  • Third-degree blood relative with two or more close blood relatives with breast and / or ovarian cancer (with at least one close blood relative with breast cancer prior to age 50).
  • History of treatment with thoracic radiation.
  • Atypical ductal or lobular hyperplasia, especially if combined with a family history of breast cancer.
  • Dense, fibronodular breasts that are mammographically or clinically difficult to evaluate, several prior breast biopsies for clinical and / or mammographic abnormalities, and strong concern about breast cancer risk.

Who is a close blood  relative? A close blood relative / close family member includes first- , second-, and third-degree relatives.

A first-degree relative is defined as a blood relative with whom an individual shares approximately 50% of his / her genes, including the individual’s parents, full siblings, and children.

A second-degree relative is defined as a blood relative with whom an individual shares approximately 25% of his / her genes, including the individual’s grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and half-siblings.

A third-degree relative is defined as a blood relative with whom an individual shares approximately 12.5% of his / her genes, including the individual’s great-grandparents and first-cousins.

GET IT IN WRITING: Some of the above criteria may sound like Greek to most of us.  Ultimately the key to finding out if your insurance will consider prophylactic mastectomy in your individual case lies in the hands of your physician and you. A comprehensive set of medical records clearly outlining your particular risk along with a request made to your insurance company for written pre-authorization or pre-determination of benefits is the best thing to do to assure if your insurance company will consider your procedure medically necessary.

–Gail Lanter, CPC, Office Manager

The Three Stages of DIEP / GAP Free Flap Breast Reconstruction

The below question is answered by Christina Hobgood Naugle, PA-C, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.

charleston breast surgeons

Christina Hobgood Naugle, PA-C

What are the stages involved in DIEP / GAP free flap breast reconstruction?

The stages of breast free flap reconstruction at our facility can vary depending upon what time in the treatment process we initially meet the patient. The best scenario occurs when the treatment is mastectomy, alone. In those patients, we are able to discuss a skin and possible nipple-sparring mastectomy. This approach means that there is a possibility that the patient would only require one step, although most women are not opposed to a second stage when liposuction, “body contouring,” is involved. Many patients do not have this opportunity, so for them, this process usually involves three stages.

The first stage, being the most involved, is the “technical” stage—the microsurgery element.  After meeting with one of our physicians and discussing the best donor site tissue (tummy, buttocks or inner thigh) the process begins and we relocate the tissue to form a new breast mound. Only the donor site fatty tissue and the blood vessels that nourish that tissue are removed. NO muscle is sacrificed. This blood supply is separated from the body and reconnected to the vessel in the chest wall that once nourished the native breast.

Since the new breast mound is solely relying on the tiny vessels we reconnected initially, we keep you in the hospital for four days to monitor the blood flow into the relocated tissue. This stage of the procedure can require about a six to eight week recovery period, depending upon healing. It varies greatly when women are feeling well enough to return to work or resume the activities they enjoyed prior to surgery.

About three months after Stage One, we may begin discussing each specific patient’s Stage Two.  Three months is the minimum amount of time that we allow. In some cases, we recommend waiting slightly longer than three months (example: radiated tissue, healing issues, or unilateral reconstruction).

Stage Two could be described as the “plastic surgery” side of the breast reconstruction. This is the stage where we fine tune everything that was accomplished in the first procedure, and attempt to improve upon your concerns and how clothes fit. During the first stage, we try our best to achieve symmetry between the two breasts, but sometimes the doctors are limited on the shaping that they are able to accomplish because of the microsurgery portion. Stage Two is about improving symmetry between the two breasts, re-building a nipple if needed, and improving the donor site. This is usually an outpatient hospital procedure but, on the rare occasion, the patient may need to stay overnight.

The procedures performed during this stage vary from person to person, according to their needs. Recovery time varies, too. It could be as little as a day or two weeks, according to the procedures that need to be performed to achieve your desired result.

Three months after your second stage, it is time for your areola tattoo, Stage Three. Women who were able to save their nipple / areola complex at Stage One do not require this stage and are complete at Stage Two. The tattoo is performed in the office under local anesthesia. There is really nothing to this phase. You may drive yourself to the office and expect to be out in one to two hours. It’s really a lot like a social visit and other than exposing your newly tattooed area to public bodies of water like swimming pools, lakes or beaches, there is not much aftercare to speak of. Simple local wound care is all that is required. The risks are minimal and infection and complications are rare.

Many women think of the tattooing as the final hurdle. The best comment I’ve heard was from a woman who stated that after the tattoo healed, she got out of the shower one day and upon looking in the mirror, felt like everything was behind her.

A few other things to keep in mind:

  • Scars look their worse at about three to six months, from that point they should steadily lighten and become less noticeable. It’s hard, but be patient. It takes a while for scars to fully mature and everyone is different.
  • You’ll meet with your surgeon and discuss the best case scenario for you and how to get your breast reconstruction accomplished in as few steps as possible. It is important, even though you are plagued with so many other physicians and concerns, to meet with your surgeon before you have your mastectomy to keep the surgical stages to a minimum. At this point, we’re able to discuss with you your breast surgeon incision site techniques and helpful concepts to improve you final outcome. We also ask your surgeon to weigh the amount of breast tissue removed. It helps for our reconstructive surgeons to know how much breast tissue was removed with your mastectomy and use that number to work toward  rebuilding your new breast, hopefully achieving a symmetrical result earlier in the process to minimize the number of surgical stages.

  • Most patients after the first stage have breast mounds and feel comfortable in clothing. If they must delay State Two of their procedure to undergo chemotherapy, build up time off from work, or just desire time with their family, they are not on a time restriction. (Do keep in mind your deductable.)

  • Vanity is not even a consideration in the breast reconstruction process and these surgeries are not cosmetic plastic surgical procedures. It all comes down to trying to get your body back together and make you as happy as possible, so you can move forward with your life and not have the reminder of everything that you have been through and overcome.
  • Procedures in the breast not affected by breast cancer are insurance covered reconstructive procedures, too. When patients have unilateral reconstruction, achieving symmetry is a little bit more complicated. We have to let the newly relocated tissue settle and heal. The second stage surgical procedures in this case can include, breast lift, reduction, and / or minor procedures to fine tune and attempt to achieve symmetry between the native and reconstructed breast.

We like our patients to discuss with us the things that bother them about their reconstructive result. There are usually things we can improve upon, whether it’s a local procedure in our office or an additional stage. The three stages described in this piece are an outline to the overall process.

Breast reconstruction cases vary and affect each individual differently based upon a number of factors. Some people require one stage and others two or three outpatient or minor procedures to return their bodies back to where they are comfortable and confident.  After you overcome the first stage, the rest are just fine tuning by standard outpatient procedures and local procedures. It is all about making you as comfortable and confident as possible.

—Christina Hobgood Naugle, PA-C

A Look at the Second Annual Warriors Wear Pink MoBo Event

Guest post by Lee Heyward, owner of the Charleston Style Concierge.

Lee attended the Second Annual Warriors Wear Pink MoBo Event, and was one of the speakers.

See below for Lee’s guest post:

Last week I was honored to be a part of the 2nd Warriors Wear Pink MoBo, where shopping was not only fun, but went to a great cause.  Attendees shopped through a great selection of designer denim, fun accessories, and great spring wardrobe updates to benefit local “warriors” fighting breast cancer. I had the privilege of helping shoppers find and put together great spring outfits.

warriors wear pinkImage to the left of Lee Heyward at the Warriors Wear Pink MoBo Event.

The MoBo was a great way to add fun spring wardrobe updates on any budget. I always teach my clients to keep an open mind when shopping because you never know what you are going to find, and the MoBo was the place to find so many great deals. Shopping here was a fun way to add new pieces to your wardrobe while benefitting an amazing cause.  Pictured here are a few of the many MoBo racks.

Below are images taken at the event of some of the clothing, jewelry, and shoe racks:

breast cancer events

charleston style concierge

Charleston personal stylist

I’m so honored to have had the opportunity to become involved with the Warriors Wear Pink organization. After speaking for only a few minutes with Leslie Moore, the organization’s founder, I had chills and knew I wanted to help however I could. Leslie is a breast cancer survivor and founded Warriors Wear Pink to give other pink warriors inspiration, hope, advice, and a community to reach out to.

breast cancer awareness

For more information about Warriors Wear Pink visit the Warriors Wear Pink Promise Blog or get involved with them on Facebook.  I hope to see you at the next Warriors Wear Pink MoBo!

To find out more about Lee and the Charleston Style Concierge, click here to visit her website.