This past Saturday evening I was honored by the American Cancer Society at the 2013 Diamond Ball for my nearly 18 years of practice in cancer reconstruction and particularly Breast reconstruction. In lieu speeches, the format consisted of a question and answer piece. I would like to share with you my responses to those questions. For those of you who shared in the evening, thanks for a great night…
1). How do you see reconstructive/plastic surgery fitting into to the overall care of a cancer patient?
– A very important part of cancer management is healing and having a positive outlook. Plastic surgery gives hope. It helps achieve a sense of wholeness and fulfillment and the process of reconstruction sometimes serves as a distraction in a positive sense during the cancer management. My office champions this philosophy by creating a warm, caring, personal environment for our patients.
2) What are the most common procedures that you perform?
– My practice is balanced between elective cosmetic surgery and breast cancer reconstruction. The most common cosmetic procedures I perform include restoring a woman’s breast and body to youthful or idealized state whether by implant augmentation, breast lift or reduction, tummy tuck or body lift, liposuction or fat grafting. Additionally, facial aesthetic procedures represent a large percentage of what I do. These might include youthful restoration of a face by fat grafting, composite face and neck lifting, eyelid lifts and rhinoplasty. As part of my commitment to facial care, I perform in office facial rejuvenate procedures including Botox, injectable fillers, and various peels and skin care regimes through our busy skin care practice. We are also very busy employing the latest non-surgical in office fat reduction treatments using Coolsculpting. In fact, i often see my healed and recovered cancer patients coming back to take advantage of many of these procedures which helps their overall long term recovery.
3) What are the latest innovations/ areas of research that are underway in Reconstructive/plastic surgery for cancer patients?
-The last five years have seen a number of advances in breast center management. They include, but are not limited to refinements in fat grafting and the effects of stem cells, the formal approval and general acceptance of various shapes and styles of the newest generation silicone gel filled breast implants which aid in achieving improved cosmetic outcomes for patients, and the accepted use of A-cellular Dermal Matrices which have eased the transition of the initial phase of tissue expander breast reconstruction.
4) What is the most meaningful or impactful thing that a patient or their caregiver has ever said to you?
-Well, you only have to go to our website and review the many heartfelt testimonials patients have submitted or the on-line reviews they write, so it’s hard to pick “the most impactful thing”, so I’ll just give you a couple of examples. These six I think encapsulate everything I strive to do for people…
“You helped me find me again, confident and beautiful on the inside and outside.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart and soul.”
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are an exceptional surgeon and a compassionate human being.”
“I truly appreciate your skill and artistry.”
“I have gained a renewed sense of myself which has a direct impact on everything I do.”
“I appreciate the attention you gave me. You put a smile on my fee and made me feel very comfortable.”
5) What are some common myths or misconceptions about your field that you would like to dispel?
-Too often outside people with limited experience or inaccurate information wrongly pass judgment on someone who has decided to have plastic surgery. This can be unnecessarily hurtful to the patient. Generally speaking, the Plastic Surgery patient is a self-confident, courageous, female who is focused and wants to simply do something they perceive as positive for themselves. Those who judge are likely jealous that that person had the courage, time, support, and the means to do soothing nice for themselves.