Mastectomy Makeover

Mastectomy Makeover

MIAMI (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) -- Actress Angelina Jolie is perhaps the most high profile patient to recently undergo a mastectomy to reduce her genetic risk of getting breast cancer. A recently published study looks at a new technique to rebuild the breast which claims to have better cosmetic results than traditional reconstruction.

Animation deformity is problem that can occur after reconstruction when breast implants are placed under the chest muscle.

Hilton Becker, M.D., Plastic Surgeon at Florida Atlantic University explains, "When they contract the muscle, it distorts the implant and distorts the chest wall."

Elizabeth Hopkins tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation which significantly raised her risk for breast cancer.

Hopkins says, "I have a long history of breast cancer on my paternal side. I lost my father, my father lost his mother."

As a mother of a young child, Hopkins opted for a double mastectomy. She became a patient of Dr. Becker.

"Surgeon after surgeon that I went to wanted to do the modified radical mastectomy incision which is a horizontal incision and I didn't want to look like I had a mastectomy done," Hopkins says.

A vertical incision is used to remove the breast tissue while sparing the nipple and surrounding skin. An adjustable saline implant is placed on top of the chest muscle and held in place by mesh or a dermal graft.

Dr. Becker says, "I've seen in the patients I've done, they go home the next day, they have very little pain and the end cosmetic result is excellent."

Hopkins says, "My breasts look better now than they did before I had the operation."

And she avoided this kind of deformity, making a tough choice, more tolerable.

The study involved 31 patients, followed for an average of two years. Results show a low complication rate. However, two patients needed to have their implants removed. Doctors say longer term follow up is needed.

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