When Susan McLain, 49, underwent a double mastectomy, she never imagined that she would look and feel better after reconstructive surgery than she did before breast cancer.
“I look great now,” McLain says in a [removed]press release[/removed]. “I am thrilled with the outcome. You would never know that I had cancer."
McLain was diagnosed with breast cancer last October after undergoing a routine mammogram. She soon learned that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. A multidisciplinary team of health-care providers at Loyola University Health System (LUHS) treated her with chemotherapy and radiation. McLain also underwent a double mastectomy and surgery to remove several lymph nodes. After the procedure, doctors implanted tissue expanders to prepare for reconstructive surgery using silicone breast implants.
The radiation and the removal of her lymph nodes and breast tissue left divots in her skin even after the breast reconstructive procedure. Plastic surgeons opted to removed fat from her stomach through liposuction and transferred it to the area around her implants to improve the symmetry of her result.
“Radiation and surgery can damage the appearance of the breast,” says Victor Cimino, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon at LUHS. “Women who undergo a fat transfer tend to appreciate that their own tissue is being used to naturally enhance the look and feel of their breasts after reconstructive surgery."
McLain underwent a series of fat-transfer procedures. Each step was performed on a Thursday, and she returned to work the following Monday with minimal pain and scarring. “I feel great and have even returned to exercising regularly,” McLain said. “I also spend a lot of time outside in the summer, and it has been nice to not feel self-conscious about my appearance."
The First Annual National Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day is slated to take place on October 17, 2012.