This Plastic Surgeon Developed a Reconstructive Technique For Breast Cancer Survivors Who Don’t Want Implants

Courtesy of Cassileth

What made you want to be a doctor? 

I’m a doctor’s daughter, but I was actually an architecture major in college and loved it. You take physics and biology as part of your architecture studies, and they clicked with me. 

And why specialize in plastic surgery? With my architecture background, I was already a little more spatially trained. I understood how to rearrange things. With breast reconstruction—specifically, as a female—you’re more likely to see the patient as yourself. I’m not just creating hot boobs so a woman can be hot. I’m listening to patients and thinking, “How can I best fulfill what she wants for herself?” 

You created a technique that allows breast cancer survivors to skip implants and keep their nipples. What inspired you to create this technique? 

The vast majority of women who have breast reconstruction have implants. To do that, you take that flat mastectomy scar, where the nipples have been removed, and put a tissue expander under there to expand the skin so you can get an implant in there. When I was working on these, there were some fantastic studies coming out showing that there was no benefit in removing the nipple or areola unless there was cancer in those areas. That meant all of a sudden you could have a small incision under your breast and have a total mastectomy. [Read more…]