For women facing the loss of one or both breasts due to either an incidence of cancer or uncommonly high risk factors, there are both physical and emotional concerns. Body image and self-esteem can play major roles in recovery following a mastectomy procedure. That’s why SJRMC has recently begun to perform a new, single-stage reconstruction procedure following mastectomy.
The new procedure is less invasive. And it allows surgeons to preserve more breast tissue so women experience much less prominent scarring and a natural appearance. As a result, women can wake up from surgery cancer-free — and feeling whole.
The new Becker Expander implant functions first as a tissue expander that is put in place during the mastectomy. It then converts to a breast implant once the tissues have been expanded sufficiently. This eliminates the more commonly required second surgery to place a separate implant.
When complications occur with breast reconstruction, it’s often from poor blood flow or poor circulation in preserved tissue. With new SPY imaging available at SJRMC, surgeons can monitor blood supply during surgery and make critical, real-time decisions to help improve results. Independent studies in breast reconstruction have already shown that the use of SPY decreases rates of:
Kari Hazelbaker is a 35-year-old wife and mother of two. And she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. After receiving a mammogram, SJRMC doctors ordered an MRI and a PET scan — which showed that Kari’s cancer was not invasive.
“After I got through all of my treatment, I had time to think about it,” she says. “We discussed a double mastectomy, and I thought for me that was the best route to go. This is going to give me peace of mind.”
Dr. Michael Rotkis believes women who beat a deadly disease should not have to be left with scars that remind them for a lifetime.
“This procedure helps women feel good about the way they look. They’re not at all embarrassed when they get out of the shadow and walk in front of the mirror. Kari is going to live a long time, and we want her to feel good about the appearance of her breast after treatment for breast cancer and when she awakens from this procedure. I think it’s very important to be able to offer this option here at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center.”
Today, Kari is home with her family — and is completely cancer-free.