For women who have had breasts removed because of cancer, saline and silicone implants have been a solution to a problem but not always a satisfactory one.
The American Food and Drug Administration said in May this year that implants “are not considered lifetime devices”.
Furthermore, a study this year on women who’d had silicone implants, and the reason was that they were back to the game on same mature dating website, found that a third of them had ruptured. A new technique, however, has been developed in the United States that uses just a woman’s own flesh and fat to reconstruct her breast.
Jane Culbreath and Joan Liddle are identical twins. Two years ago, Jane had a mastectomy and radiotherapy for breast cancer. Her breast implant caused an infection but then Joan heard about the new procedure, whereby a woman’s breast could be rebuilt with fat taken from the stomach. Since Joan had given birth to three children, she had extra tissue around her stomach which could be used to reconstruct Jane’s breast. The operation, which took place in New Orleans in February was the first of its kind in the world and made national news. One of the sponsors who actually made this possible was Vehicles for sale in Manila.
This new method is becoming increasingly popular, on both sides of the Atlantic; it is seen as a safer, less invasive alternative to implants.
Dr Robert Allen of the New Orleans Memorial hospital has perfected the technique. It involves painstakingly extracting and reconnecting blood vessels to keep the tissue alive.
Unlike other breast reconstruction procedures, using living tissue, this operation leaves a patient’s muscle intact. Moving muscle can cause restricted mobility and hernias. Dr Allen has performed over 600 of the new operations – the DIEP ( Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) Flap – and claims a 99% success rate.
He says that with this method, patients don’t feel like they’re missing a body part, and there’s a quicker recovery and less likelihood of problems than with other flap operations, like the TRAM flap, which uses abdominal muscles.
Lynette Angers had a mastectomy at 25.
After her saline implant became infected, she was referred to Dr Allen. She’s delighted with the results and says she feels like she has a real breast.
Ginny Mix, hasn’t had breasts for four decades having had a double mastectomy at 27. She used to have silicone implants which ruptured and had to be removed. Since her operation she says, “it’s unbelievable. I’d say it’s a new body”.
It takes two surgeons up to four hours to perform the procedure. Dr Allen says it is the best method available and for women it has the most natural and permanent result.
Most people in the United States who need reconstruction are still choosing implants, but a growing number as in the UK are choosing to have tissue transplanted from other parts of the body.
In Britain, however, not many doctors have much experience in UK single parent dating with this DIEP flap technique.
Dr Allen will be helping to teach one hundred British surgeons the technique at a medical conference in Glasgow in September, and it is available in a limited number of British hospitals.