Dr. James Craigie Answers Your Questions About Natural Breast Reconstruction

The below questions are answered by Dr. James Craigie of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.

Do you perform a stacked combination DIEP/SGAP using both to make a breast(s)?

We do on occasion. It may be needed when one area of the body does not have enough tissue to achieve the desired result. This is an unusual situation in our practice we can usually achieve our goals with one area of the body.

There is a lot of discussion about a maximum BMI what about a minimum?

BMI is a guide line that helps the surgeon determine who is at a higher risk for complications. It is not a strict guideline and the final decision is left to the surgeons judgment among other things. Safety is our first priority and studies have definitely linked high BMI to an increased rate of complications without a doubt. Unfortunately  BMI is not a perfect calculation and different doctors may use the information differently. A low BMI is not linked to complications if someone is otherwise fit for surgery. Someone with very little body fat will have a low BMI and possibly not enough tissue to make a very large breast. This does not mean they cannot have a good result. It  may mean they require and combined or stacked flap approach. We have seen many patients who have been told they “don’t have enough tissue” but after consultation can reassure them they can get a very proportional result.

Dr. James Craigie

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

Do you have a question about breast implants or natural breast reconstruction? Submit them here for an answer straight for our surgical team!

One Woman’s Journey to DO Something About Her BRCA Status

Julie Moon
We at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction are delighted to share this In her Words post featuring Julie Moon, who is a 34 year old BRCA 1 positive breast cancer previvor. Julie wants other women to be educated, which is why she began the blog  Say it Anyway, where she shares her unique story and journey.

See below for our interview with Julie.

What type of reconstruction surgery did you have and how do you feel about the results?

I had a bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy and immediate SGAP reconstruction.  I am so excited about having natural looking breasts made from my own body that will be with me for the rest of my life and never have to be replaced.   I am so grateful to have found Dr. Craigie and his staff.  I knew as soon as I met them that I was in good hands.

Breast cancer runs in your family at what point did you decide to undergo preventative breast surgery?

I found out in 2007 that I was BRCA 1 positive.  I decided then that I would go ahead and have my third child and breastfeed her as long as she needed. I participated in the Atlanta Susan G Komen 3Day For The Cure in 2011 and I was moved over that weekend to DO something about my BRCA status.  I met with Dr. Craigie in December and had my surgery Feb 1, 2012.

What advice would you give to women who have undergone a mastectomy or double mastectomy and are unsure about natural breast reconstruction?

I would recommend that women look at lots of pictures.  I would recommend that they ask specific questions to other women who have undergone the procedure.  I found so much great information from the women at the FORCE.  I would also encourage them to not be afraid to travel to another city to get the procedure that they really desire.  I have three children and a very busy entrepreneur husband.  It was A LOT of work to organize all the friends, family and babysitters needed to care for my family while I was out of town for my surgery.  It was all so very worth it.

In what ways has breast cancer both negatively and positively affected your life?

I feel very blessed to be one of the women who actually knows what cancer was coming after me and be able to eliminate that risk before it knocked on my door.  My grandmother was a breast cancer survivor.  She was not lucky enough to be able to have had natural breast reconstruction and now as a grown woman I am able to see how that must have affected her life so dramatically.  My aunt died from complications of her chemotherapy that was treating her breast cancer.  My mom was smart enough to have a bilateral and reconstruction before they found cancer but ironically she already had it growing in her breast undetected.  My BRCA status has taught me how to face something ugly in the face and not be afraid of it but battle it with the best army I could find.

Have questions for Julie? Submit them here! Be sure to check out her blog for tons of educational resources.