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Rebuilding After a Mastectomy

Dr. Hartog works on a patient in his office.
Dr. Hartog works on a patient in his office.
Axia Public Relations

Recently prominent actress Angelina Jolie spoke out about her controversial decision to undergo a mastectomy after learning she was carrying the BRCA1 gene. Carriers of the gene are supposedly at a greater risk of developing breast cancer than those who do not. For working women, the decision to undergo a mastectomy is a traumatic one no matter what the circumstances. The pain of the breast removal is exacerbated by the reconstruction process. Typical reconstruction consists of saline or silicone implants which carry a risk of rupturing or adverse reactions in the body. Central Florida women do have another choice, breast reconstruction via fat grafting.

Autologous fat transfer or AFT is the process of removing fat from other parts of the body and inserting it in small droplets into the breasts. For women who have undergone a mastectomy, the procedure is a natural one that leaves virtually no scars. Even more important for working women, the down time after surgery is minimal and the procedure can be done on an outpatient basis. Local Winter Park plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Hartog, performs the surgery at the Bougainvillea Clinique. Perhaps the most outspoken proponent of the procedure is his wife, Michelle. Michelle is a busy working woman and student, who chose fat transfer after she received a breast cancer diagnosis. It took five procedures and approximately one year for Michelle to achieve her desired look. She is quick to point out that unlike other procedures, there was minimal downtime for her. Undergoing surgery on Thursday she was back to work the following Monday.

The fat grafting procedure or AFT is done in stages. The number of stages depends on the size of the reconstruction. A partial mastectomy requires fewer stages than a complete one which could take more stages if radiation is involved. The costs for this type of reconstruction can range between $15-20k per procedure which is less costly than other more invasive forms of reconstruction. Insurance typically covers the procedure after preauthorization, but this can be a daunting task since the fat transfer surgeries are still relatively new. For working women in the Central Florida area looking to reclaim their lives as quickly as possible after the pain of a mastectomy, the fat transfer process may be one of the best options. If you would like more information on the procedure visit the Bougainvillea Website or contact Dr. Hartog at (866) 985-4741.