Michael Miller, MD, a plastic surgeon at Ohio State University Medical Center, helps mastectomy patients restore their quality of life by replacing a cancerous breast with a breast created by the patient’s fatty tissue during the same surgery.

"They can go right from having a mastectomy to waking up with a breast," says Miller.

Miller often stands side-by-side in the same operating room as cancer surgeons. As soon as they remove a cancerous breast, Miller immediately steps in to replace it. He says although there are many ways to replace the breast, he prefers using fatty tissue from a woman’s stomach area, which not only reduces the size of her abdomen, but it gives him the best chance to create a successful breast replacement.

"The tissue borrowed from there is easiest to work with, it’s got the most reliable blood supply and the resulting scar from taking the tissue from there is more easily concealed," says Miller.

Miller can also use tissue from a woman’s thighs or back, and in some cases, he can use implants. All of which are safe options that he insists will not interfere with cancer treatment.

While not every woman who has a breast removed is a candidate for same-day breast reconstruction surgery, Miller says the majority of women don’t even realize it’s an option. He says any time a woman is facing surgery for breast cancer, she should include a plastic surgeon as part of the treatment team, in case there is a chance for reconstruction.

[www.medicalnewstoday.com, October 10, 2007]