Emerging From Mastectomy With a Healthy Body Image Intact

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-35299" src="https://mdthinks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/emerging-from-mastectomy-with-a-healthy-body-image-intact.jpg" alt=" When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Margaret Pelikan had two goals: to get rid of the disease and to feel normal afterwards. Her team at the Mayo Clinic helped her to accomplish both. "Width =" 805 "height =" 453 "/>

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Margaret Pelikan had two goals: to get rid of the disease and to feel normal afterward. Her team at the Mayo Clinic helped her to accomplish both.

For eight years Margaret Pelikan dreaded mammograms.

In 2008, he was diagnosed with a condition called lobular carcinoma in situ in his left breast. The disorder causes abnormal cell growth and increases the risk of developing invasive breast cancer in both breasts

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After surgically removing the abnormal cells, Margaret took medication to suppress her estrogen production in the hopes of reducing her risk of breast cancer. But in 2016, his fears were realized. A mammogram showed that she had suspicious calcifications in her right breast. Other tests revealed that Margaret had breast cancer.

His local health care provider recommended radiotherapy and . She went from the front with the lumpectomy. But she was concerned about radiation. Because she was at high risk of breast cancer, Margaret was worried that the disease would come back. If that was the case, a successful mastectomy and breast reconstruction could be more difficult if the tissue had received radiation.

While Margaret weighed her options, she decided that she wanted another opinion. She turned to Mayo Clinic . The doctors there offered Margaret a new type of breast reconstruction and surgery that would give her the treatment she needed while helping her maintain a positive view of her body.

"I'm joking that I'm better than I was before," says Margaret. "And I do not need to continue living in fear of my annual mammogram."

Another type of mastectomy

When Margaret was diagnosed with breast cancer, the retired library director of Carmel City by the Sea, California, began doing what she did best – the research.

"I wanted to be cancer free and wanted to look normal," she says.

She found someone in her community who had undergone a bilateral mastectomy at the Mayo Clinic and was impressed by the results. "You could not say that she had done something," Margaret said.

"I liked that Dr. Lemaine and Dr. Degnim treat me as a partner in my treatment, they did not tell me what to do, they told me what were my options. " – Margaret Pelikan

Margaret made an appointment with the Breast Diagnostic Clinic at the campus of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester . There she met the general surgeon Amy Degnim, M.D. and the plastic surgeon Valerie Lemaine, M.D. in January 2017.

"Both are remarkable in their field, but the level of attention was different from the other medical centers I was in," says Margaret. "I liked that Dr. Lemaine and Dr. Degnim treat me as a partner in my treatment, they did not tell me what to do, they told me what were my options."

These options were to be a mastectomy with or without breast reconstruction. But Margaret was scared by the idea of ​​a mastectomy. During her consultations in Mayo, however, she learned a new procedure that had not been offered to her elsewhere – a mastectomy with sparing the nipples with immediate pre-chest reconstruction.

"In the past, we removed all the breast and much of the skin from the chest, including the nipple and areola," says Dr. Degnim. "With the nipple-saving mastectomy procedure, we pass under the skin, remove all the breast tissue and keep all the breast skin, so that the results look as natural as possible after the reconstruction."

The other big difference is that the implant is placed on the pectoral muscle rather than under it.

"When we used to place implants behind the pectoral muscle, the women complained that muscle contractions were visible as they moved their arms," ​​says Dr. Lemaine. "Because we now place the implant where the natural breast was, we can eliminate these visible muscle contractions and achieve a more natural result."

Feeling good after surgery

Mayo Clinic has the most experience in the country with this type of procedure, which gave Margaret the confidence to go ahead. She underwent the first of two surgeries on January 26, 2017.

"The level of coordination between Dr. Degnim and Dr. Lemaine was extraordinary," she says.

During the first surgery, the breast tissue was removed and a temporary implant was placed in front of the pectoral muscle to preserve the skin and allow it to heal. Dr. Lemaine used the given skin as a soft tissue support for the implant, almost like an internal bra, and then draped Margaret's breast skin. The temporary implant was inflated with salt water over the following weeks to gradually increase the size of Margaret's breast to her liking.

"This type of mastectomy and reconstruction takes less time, which helps patients recover faster," says Dr. Lemaine.

"The level of coordination between Dr. Degnim and Dr. Lemaine was extraordinary." – Margaret Pelikan

During the second surgery in July, Dr. Lemaine removed the temporary implant and replaced it with a permanent silicone implant that she chose with Margaret prior to surgery. The fat of Margaret's legs and abdomen has been placed under the skin over the implant to create a more natural look.

"We were able to offer Ms. Pelikan a reconstruction that allowed her to feel like a woman and restore her body image," says Dr. Lemaine about the procedure.

[Traduction] "I feel wonderful about it," says Dr. Degnim. "One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is being able to help women in times of need and help them be healthy. "

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Tags: Breast Cancer Breast Diagnostic Clinic Cancer Dr. Amy Degnim Dr. Valérie Lemaine

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