With advances in modern medicine and the intensive research devoted to breast cancer, more and more women every year are beating their breast cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, though, beating breast cancer all too often requires undergoing invasive surgical procedures that eliminate the cancer only by sacrificing all or most of the natural breast tissue. Whether it is the complete loss of one or both breasts through a mastectomy, removal of partial breast tissue because of a lumpectomy, or the loss of breast tissue due to a traumatic injury or birth defect, the psychological impact of losing a “feminine profile” can be devastating, undermining a woman’s self-confidence and self-esteem at the very time when she should be enjoying life to the fullest.
At The Healing Curve in West Hollywood, California, we believe that beating breast cancer or overcoming traumatic breast damage doesn’t have to mean sacrificing a vital part of your womanhood. Founded in 2008 by Board Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Gary Motykie, The Healing Curve is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women find the financial and emotional means to undergo breast reconstruction surgery, restoring their figure, their self-confidence, and their joie de vivre! While advances in medical technology are enabling even more women to live cancer-free, those advances also offer skilled surgeons such as Dr. Motykie the opportunity to help women regain breasts that look and feel natural and organic, ensuring a shapely, beautiful physique and a healthy, happy outlook on life.
BREAST RECONSTRUCTION SHOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR EVERYONE WHO NEEDS IT!
The goal of breast reconstruction surgery is to give woman who have undergone a mastectomy, have a congenital defect of the breast, or who have experienced severe breast injury or trauma a natural, symmetrical chest profile. Depending on the extent of damage to the original breast tissue, breast reconstruction may involve either the creation of one breast that exactly matches the existing breast or the creation of completely new breast and nipple-areola complexes for both breasts. Highly advanced surgical techniques enable today’s plastic surgeons to re-build perfect, natural-looking breasts utilizing silicone or saline implants, tissue expanders, and tissue and muscle grafting from the patient’s own body. While the exact surgical techniques will be unique for each individual patient and will be highly dependent on her medical history and aesthetic goals, the end goal for every breast reconstruction is the same: clothes and swimsuits that fit properly without the use of bulky, visible padding, a “normal” body profile, and an boosted self-confidence that should be a vital part of any full recovery and healing.
HOW TODAY’S SURGEONS RECREATE A NATURAL, BEAUTIFUL BREAST PROFILE
In general, there are two primary ways to reconstruct a balanced chest profile with natural-looking breasts: tissue expanders and implants or autologous tissue transplant known as “flap” procedures. Every patient will undergo series of extensive consultations with the reconstructive breast surgeon to develop a precise and exact surgical plan designed to achieve each individual’s unique personal goals.
Flap procedures: For patients who do not have sufficient natural breast tissue remaining after injury or surgery to support an implant, a “flap” reconstructive procedure reconstructs the breast(s) using muscle, fat, and tissue (or a “flap”) from a donor site on the patient’s own body. Once the flap is moved to the chest and sutured in place, it is then molded into the preferred shape. Flaps can be taken from the abdominal wall (Transverse Rectus Abdominus Myocutaneous, or TRAM Flap) or the back muscle near the shoulder blade (Latissimus Dorsi Flap). A TRAM Flap usually includes the use of additional abdominal fatty tissue while a Latissimus Dorsi Flap may require a tissue expander and future implant to add volume. Flap procedures result in breasts that look and feel like natural breasts, with less risk of long-term side effects than implants. However, flap procedures are more invasive than implant procedures, involve additional scarring and loss of muscle strength at the donor site, and usually require a longer hospital stay and recovery period.
Breast Implants: The use of tissue expanders and implants is an increasingly common method of breast reconstruction as the durability and quality of implants has improved significantly in recent years. However, breast reconstruction with implants requires multiple steps involving multiple surgical procedures. First, tissue expanders are positioned in place to act as temporary spacers, and then filled as much as possible without damaging existing incisions. They may be filled multiple times over several weeks, depending on the desired final breast size. During the final step, the tissue expanders are replaced by silicone or saline breast implants. While breast implants are generally considered to be “permanent”, they are susceptible to leaking or deflating, and may require replacement in the future.
Breast reconstruction is a major surgical procedure, involving several hours in the operating room, an extended hospital stay, and up to six weeks of recovery time. Regular post-operative check-ups will be required as the healing progresses, bruising and swelling diminish, and the breasts take on their permanent shape, size, and form. Neither of the two reconstructive techniques described here have been shown to impact cancer recurrence or impede either future detection or treatment. Some screenings centers may not perform mammograms on reconstructed breasts, however, so each patient should discuss future screening options with both their oncologist and their plastic surgeon.
THE HEALING CURVE CAN HELP!
Here at The Heading Curve, we are committed to helping all women get access to the state-of-the-art surgical techniques they need for a complete recovery from cancer or injury! The Healing Curve, located in West Hollywood, California, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing funding and support to individuals who do not have the financial means to undergo reconstructive surgery. Dr. Gary Motykie, Board Certified plastic surgeon and founder of The Healing Curve, has devoted much of his life to helping people obtain the medical and cosmetic help they need, from researching the development of improved artificial limbs to studying in one of the nation’s premier burn and reconstructive hospitals. He prides himself on offering cutting-edge reconstructive technologies to ensure that cancer survivors or other victims of trauma have the natural, beautiful figure they want and the full, happy life they deserve.
If you have undergone a surgical procedure in the course of breast cancer treatment or have a physical abnormality due to a birth defect or traumatic injury, but do not have the financial means necessary for reconstructive surgery, contact us today to find out if you are a candidate for breast reconstruction at The Healing Curve. We look forward to scheduling your consultation with Dr. Motykie today!