Reconstruction helps women lead a normal life
Susan was only 47 in 2002 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, she is healthy, vibrant and living an active life. For many patients like Susan, breast reconstruction surgery can restore the appearance of a natural breast—and help a woman look and feel like her normal self again.
Susan shares her story
“After my diagnosis, I decided to have a modified radical mastectomy,” Susan recalls. “When I told my general surgeon I really wanted reconstructive surgery, he recommended Dr. Rappaport.
“My husband and I went in to see Dr. Rappaport and he explained my options,” says Susan. “He was so kind. My possibilities were to have an implant or a TRAM [transverse rectus abdominis muscle] flap, where he does a tummy tuck and uses that flesh to create a breast mound. I chose the TRAM flap and I did very well.”
‘I just cried—I was so thankful!’
Susan opted to have her reconstructive surgery at the same time as her mastectomy. “Dr. Rappaport worked very closely with my other doctors,” she says. “I’ll never forget when they took off all the bandages after my surgery. My husband put a mirror in front of me so I could see my chest.
“When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see a lateral scar across a sunken chest wall—I saw a breast!” Susan recalls. “I just cried—I was so thankful! I’m very glad I had my reconstructive surgery right away.”
Some time after her surgery, Dr. Rappaport recreated a nipple-areola complex to make Susan’s new breast look as natural as possible. “He didn’t tattoo the areola like some doctors do, or take skin from another area to simulate a nipple,” says Susan. “I don’t know how he did it–it was amazing!”
Breast reconstruction offers several options
“Some breast cancer patients, like Susan, want to have breast reconstruction surgery at the same time as their cancer surgery,” Dr. Rappaport explains. “Other women choose to have reconstruction surgery later.
“A woman’s reconstruction choices are based on her physique, the size of the tumor and the type of therapy she requires, such as radiation,” he says. “One reconstructive technique uses tissue expanders to create room for a breast implant. We individualize each woman’s treatment plan for her physical and psychological needs.”