Healthcheck: New type of breast reconstructive surgery

Less than one in fivewomen who have a mastectomy because of breast cancer, will even havereconstructive surgery. Little Rock plastic surgeons Melanie Prince and MichaelSpann believe it's because many women don't know their options.

"I think it's education.That's the importance of getting the word out there. Educate women that theyactually have a choice in breast reconstruction if they decide to have it, andthen what type they'd decide to have," Dr. Prince said.

The latest reconstructiontechnique is called the deep inferior epigastric perforator flap. Surgeons taketissue from a patient's abdomen in a procedure similar to a tummy tuck, andmove it to the breast.

Diana Foster of LittleRock is one of the few Arkansans who has undergone the surgery, following adouble mastectomy last year.

"I liked the fact that Icould use my own tissue. I felt more comfortable in that regard," said Foster.

Using a woman's own tissuehas its advantages over implants.

"No matter how good wemake those implants, they never feel like your body's own tissue and they'renot lifelong devices," Dr. Spann said.

Diana had the 16 hoursurgery last month and has no regrets. "Very pleased," she said. "It gave meback the confidence. It just made me feel better about myself."

"It's a very individual choice.It's a very intimate choice. It's something that you should take longconsideration with, talk to your doctors about. Talk to your breast surgeonthat did the mastectomy and then find a surgeon you're comfortable with," Dr. Spann said.

As with any surgery, there are some risksincluding weakness in the muscle, and risk of injury to the internal organs.Dr. Spann recommends a breast cancer patient should visit with a plasticsurgeon before having a mastectomy to know their reconstructive options.