LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- A diagnosis of breast cancer is bad enough, but imagine losing a part of you. That's a big concern for women, but increasing surgical options can provide comfort during a life-changing experience.
In this Prescription Arkansas, Dawn Scott introduces you to a new type of reconstructive surgery and hear from a patient who's reaping the benefits.
Diana Foster says, "I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 49 last year on Mother's Day."
With no prior personal or family history, the news hit hard for Diana Foster. She says, "I went through radiation and chemo-therapy and In October of last year I underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy."
After a successful surgery, Foster waited a year before considering reconstructive surgery to repair the lost tissue. That's when she found her way to the Little Rock Plastic Surgery Clinic. She says, "I did not want implants I wanted to use my own tissue, so I chose deep reconstruction."
Dr. Melanie Prince says, "What we do is we use the skin and fat from the lower abdomen. Typically, the same skin and fat that would be discarded during an abdnominalplasty and we use that to reconstruct the breast."
Prince, along with her partner Dr. Michael Spann, is the only doctor in the state that performs the technically demanding procedure. Prince says patients who undergo reconstructive surgery do better in the long-run since it helps boost self-esteem. She says, "Because it's their own tissue. Their breast will now gain weight when they gain weight. They will lose weight when the patient loses weight and they're at less risk of capsular contracture, which is what happens when scar tissue forms around the implant and causes a lot of hardness."
Foster says, "It's a very personal choice for me. I felt having reconstruction was the right thing to do. It gave me back something cancer took from me. And it gave me a flat tummy. That was an added bonus."
Now, Foster feels she regained some of what she lost, along with a new outlook on life. She says, "A greater appreciation of everything, as most women with breast cancer can tell you. It totally changes your outlook."
For those interested in reconstructive surgery, Insurance companies are required by law to cover it for breast cancer patients.