Healthcheck: New type of breast reconstructive surgery - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Healthcheck: New type of breast reconstructive surgery

Posted: Updated:

Less than one in five women who have a mastectomy because of breast cancer, will even have reconstructive surgery. Little Rock plastic surgeons Melanie Prince and Michael Spann believe it's because many women don't know their options.

"I think it's education. That's the importance of getting the word out there. Educate women that they actually have a choice in breast reconstruction if they decide to have it, and then what type they'd decide to have," Dr. Prince said.

The latest reconstruction technique is called the deep inferior epigastric perforator flap. Surgeons take tissue from a patient's abdomen in a procedure similar to a tummy tuck, and move it to the breast.

Diana Foster of Little Rock is one of the few Arkansans who has undergone the surgery, following a double mastectomy last year.

"I liked the fact that I could use my own tissue. I felt more comfortable in that regard," said Foster.

Using a woman's own tissue has its advantages over implants.

"No matter how good we make those implants, they never feel like your body's own tissue and they're not lifelong devices," Dr. Spann said.

Diana had the 16 hour surgery last month and has no regrets. "Very pleased," she said. "It gave me back the confidence. It just made me feel better about myself."

"It's a very individual choice. It's a very intimate choice. It's something that you should take long consideration with, talk to your doctors about. Talk to your breast surgeon that did the mastectomy and then find a surgeon you're comfortable with," Dr. Spann said.

As with any surgery, there are some risks including weakness in the muscle, and risk of injury to the internal organs. Dr. Spann recommends a breast cancer patient should visit with a plastic surgeon before having a mastectomy to know their reconstructive options.