Breast implants are not your only choice after mastectomy

February 24, 2011

Breast implants are not your only choice after mastectomy
Breast implants are not your only choice after mastectomy

Elizabeth Anderson, breast cancer survivor, is very pleased with her new breasts. Anderson was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in 2009 at age 46. She had both breasts removed the very next month.

She shared her experience with Ninette Sosa of CNN on February 3rd, 2011. “To look in the mirror and not see anything, it just didn’t feel right. My goal was to be a whole woman again.” Anderson traveled from her home in Florida to New Orleans for a new type of surgery that she found out about on her own.

What is amazing is that Anderson got this surgery at all. Her cancer doctors never told her about it, and that’s actually pretty common. A study has shown that of every 10 women who qualify for reconstructive breast surgery, only three are fully informed of their options. The information gap may be simply because those who diagnose breast cancer and perform mastectomy work separately from plastic surgeons who perform reconstruction.

Anderson was not a good candidate for breast implants because she had undergone radiation treatment. Neither her oncologist nor her regular radiologist mentioned an alternative surgical possibility while she was being treated, and none of the women in her survivor group had even heard of the procedure.

When she visited a different radiologist towards the end of her treatment, Anderson was told about bilateral delayed breast reconstruction, a procedure innovated within the last decade, in which breasts are recreated using fatty tissue taken from other parts of the patient's body, such as the buttocks, abdomen or back. According to reconstructive surgeon Frank DellaCroce, “We can take excess fatty deposits from almost any place in the body and microsurgically transplant it into the area where the mastectomy has been done.”

Following her surgery, Anderson was happy and grateful. "Gotcha cancer! I'm absolutely thrilled I can just be normal. That's all I want, is to be normal again."

To find out more about breast reconstruction options, contact a board-certified member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.  


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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