When Kathleen Wilde was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, her doctors were able to successfully treat the disease without removing her breasts.

However, a biopsy in July revealed that cancer had returned in an invasive form. Wilde, a nurse and patient advocate from Pismo Beach, California, knew she needed a mastectomy; but she also realized that she didn’t have sufficient body fat in her lower abdomen for the traditional reconstruction.

Her surgical oncologist, Irene Wapnir, MD decided to explore an entirely new approach: implants using omentum, a curtain of fatty tissue that hangs from the stomach and wraps around the internal organs.