I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2009 and underwent a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction in December. I am thin and was under the impression that I did not have enough fat to create two breasts. I am also a dancer and did not want to compromise my abdominal muscles. I did not know about DIEP flap surgery and that I might be a candidate for this procedure. I chose to go with implants. Unfortunately, I turned out to have a positive lymph node and required chemotherapy which I started in January of 2010. I had a complication that I knew could happen and I developed an infection in one of my breasts. My body could not fight due to the chemo and the only solution was to remove the expander in my left breast along with the part of the breast skin that was not healthy. I recovered and completed the chemo living with one breast that had an expander and was very uncomfortable, and the other side was without a breast and quite disfigured. I was anticipating further surgery to restart the implant process but my oncological surgeon advised against it. She felt that due to the prior infection, another implant (foreign body) could trigger further infection and trouble in the future. She had become familiar with Dr. Chen and the DIEP flap procedure and felt it was the answer for me. She contacted Dr. Chen about my case and I was seen by Dr. Chen almost immediately. She was amazing. She spent a lot of time explaining the entire procedure to me along with my husband, and felt that although I am thin, she would be successful in finding enough fat to create nice breasts. I was excited about the prospect of having natural breasts made from my own tissue especially after having gone through problems with implants. She explained that it is not one surgery and would be done in stages. I also knew that my complications provided a challenge. I felt very confident in her ability and was not disappointed. Not only am I now a 34C, I am able to wear clothes and dance costumes that I never could have worn before. My figure is just great and I am very comfortable in my own skin. I underwent the first surgery in May of 2010 with a second surgery in September. The surgeries went extremely well and I am thrilled with the outcome. I have one more surgery to fine tune things but that won’t be until some time this fall. Dr. Chen wants my breasts to settle before she continues. If I had to live with what I have now, it would be just fine but I have such a good feeling that Dr. Chen can further improve the appearance of my breasts that I don’t mind another surgery. She is extremely talented, and such a warm and caring woman. I will never forget her visits while I was in the hospital. She spent so much time just chatting with me when she should have gone home to get some rest. She also spent a lot of time with me at every post op visit making sure that all questions and concerns were addressed. She is a dedicated and wonderful surgeon and now a cherished friend.
- Louise K.