Prophylactic Mastectomy with Reconstruction, a.k.a. the "Angelina Jolie Surgery"

Have you heard of the "Angelina Jolie Surgery"? Chances are that you have if you've read the news sometime in the last two years! The Hollywood star known for her movie roles and timeless beauty underwent a genetic test that confirmed a BRCA1 mutation, which gave her high odds that she would develop breast cancer at some point in her life.

Jolie said in a New York Times article she wrote, "Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65% risk of getting it, on average."

BRCA Gene Mutations Commonly Associated with Breast Cancer

BRCA genes (both BRCA1 and BRCA2) are an indicator showing certain mutations that are commonly associated with either breast or ovarian cancer. BRCA1 mutations can produce a lifetime risk of breast cancer ranging from 45% to 87% and of ovarian cancer ranging from 31% to 63%. By any stretch of the imagination, these are high risks of potentially-deadly cancers.

Angelina Jolie went public with her decision to undergo a nipple-sparing prophylactic mastectomy and reconstruction. Her procedure involved removing all breast tissue and reconstruction with silicone implants. A bilateral prophylactic mastectomy reduces the risk of breast cancer in women with high risk BRCA1 mutations by at least 90%.

Dr. Jensen Offers Patients Risk Reduction Plastic Surgery

With the advances in medical research, specifically breast cancer research, Dr. Jensen is able to offer his patients risk reduction surgery and reconstruction. In many patients the surgical incision made is not much bigger than an incision used to do a cosmetic breast augmentation.

Mother/Daughter Duo Shares Their Story of risk Reducing Mastectomy Reconstruction

Meet this mother/daughter trio, prophylactic mastectomy reconstruction patients of Dr. Jensen. With their permission we share their story. Because of a strong family history of breast cancer the Mom decided to undergo BRCA testing so her family could make more informed decisions about their own healthcare. This is what she has to say about it, "After my positive BRCA test, surgery was not even a question. To undergo a complete mastectomy would greatly reduce the chances of getting breast cancer. My kids had the same genetic mutation and I needed to lead the charge, as they were both watching me. BRCA can scar you both physically and mentally, however Dr. Jensen was very reassuring. He answered all my prayers. I'm so grateful for modern technology, as it has given me the opportunity to do everything we can to prevent breast cancer."

Her two daughters decided to undergo prophylactic mastectomies with reconstruction as well. One daughter said, "After watching my mom and then my sister go through the mastectomy process I didn't feel like I had anything to worry about. It wasn't until I set the date of the procedure that all the questions, doubt and horror stories came to mind. 'Am I too young for this?' was the biggest question I asked myself. Then I thought, 'Cancer probably doesn't think I'm too young.' That was my answer. The next question I thought a lot about was, 'I'm not married yet or have kids, so am I going to miss out on anything?'. The answer was, 'Is it worth possibly getting cancer?'. It's not. I plan to live a long, happy and healthy life. This surgery helped me get there."

The other daughter said, "I am 25 years old, I'm a mom of two beautiful baby boys, and I tested positive for BRCA1. A mastectomy just makes sense, you would think. Unfortunately feelings and logic do not always line up. I changed my mind about 10 times a day, every day, until my surgery date. When my Aunt died of breast cancer just 1 month after my first surgery I have never regretted my decision. Having my sister and my mother going through the same things with me was amazing, empowering and brought us closer than ever. We all feel so blessed."

While Angelina Jolie may be the new poster woman for BRCA testing and prophylactic mastectomies with reconstruction, Dr. Jensen's office has seen a lot of brave women battle the same decisions and questions in regard to their health. These women could also be the poster faces of undergoing this procedure and doing everything they can to lower their risk of getting breast cancer.

In a recent medical study it was noted that women that had undergone prophylactic mastectomies with reconstruction said they wish they had known it was less traumatic and less painful than they had anticipated. Prophylactic mastectomies may not be for everyone. There are several ways to reduce your risks of developing breast cancer. Proper screening and early detection are key elements to improved survival rates.

The Exciting Procedure of Fat Transfer

Fat can be a good thing?  According to Dr. Mark Jensen, it definitely can!  As a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Jensen says that fat “is like liquid gold.”  When transferred from a problem area to somewhere else that needs correction, fat becomes the perfect tool for many reconstructive procedures. 

What it does

Because fat is a natural substance, it is an excellent tool to work with when doing reconstructive surgery.  The surgeon can remove fat from a problem area, like the stomach or hips, and transfer it to the breasts or face (the two most common transfer areas).  Fat transfers effectively smooth, lift, and rejuvenate areas degraded by sickness or old age. 

Why do it

This procedure is very popular for breast cancer patients.  After beating cancer, patients are often left with lumpy or deformed breasts.  A fat transplant will fill in the gaps and reform the breast.  Other patients receive fat transplants to their face which can dramatically decrease the signs of aging.  Fat transfers can also be used for augmentation of the breasts or buttocks

Benefits

A fat transfer is a very natural, healthy, and effective procedure.  Not only does the result look more natural than artificial implants, but the stem cells in the fat work wonders when it comes to healing.  Thanks to the stem cells, reconstructed breasts will become soft again and grow and shrink naturally as the rest of your body does.  When used in facial transplants, stem cells also help to reverse the signs of aging and truly make you look young again.

If you are interested in learning about more uses and benefits of fat transplants, call or visit Dr. Mark Jensen’s office.  He and his friendly staff are here to help you love your body once again!

Keeping It Real: Be Honest with Your Plastic Surgeon

Plastic surgery is becoming more and more common, and that may cause the impression that it is no big deal.  However, like any surgery, it should be taken seriously.  And, because your surgeon wants the operation to go as safely and smoothly as possible, it is important to keep your doctor informed of your medical history. Your doctor may ask you many medical questions, and it is important to answer them all as accurately as you can.  Here are a few of the most common questions, and why they are important.

1.       What medications are you taking? It is important to list all medications that you take regularly and any that you have taken recently.  Different medications may affect the way your body reacts to the procedure and in recovery.

2.       Do you drink regularly/are you a smoker? These may seem like personal questions, but both alcohol and tobacco affect your blood and can change the success of the operation.

3.       Are you pregnant? Again, this question may seem a little personal, but when it comes down to it, an operation during pregnancy can be extremely dangerous for both you and the baby.  Make sure your plastic surgeon is aware of your plans to have a baby.

Dr. Mark Jensen will help you feel comfortable throughout the entire process.  He will work with you to ensure that you are safe throughout the medical procedure and that you are happy with the results. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your surgery options. And remember, keeping him informed will be in your best interest.  So, be honest, and you will have the best possible outcome with your safety as a top priority!