SAN FRANCISCO -- The skilled plastic surgeons at St. Mary's Medical Center now offer a new breast reconstruction procedure called Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery Perforation (DIEP) flap. According to Dr. Charles Lee, director of microsurgery at St. Mary's, an upcoming surgery on November 4 will be the first time a double DIEP procedure will be performed at St. Mary's Medical Center.
This microsurgery procedure is a significant improvement because it allows surgeons to rebuild breast tissue using the patient's own skin, fat and blood vessels while preserving the abdominal muscle, which is commonly used in other types of flaps.
"Performing reconstruction with the patient's own tissue offers many advantages," said Dr. Lee. "Microsurgery means a faster recovery and the breast will look and feel more natural than with implants."
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Breast Cancer Foundation, more than 1.6 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the U.S. today. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 56,000 breast reconstructive surgeries were performed in 2006. DIEP flap procedures accounted for more than 3,500 of them. This is almost double the 1,909 DIEP reconstructions performed in 2005.
"Dr. Lee is one of a select number of plastic surgeons in the country performing this kind of specialized microsurgery," said Ken Steele, president of St. Mary's Medical Center. "St. Mary's has been at the forefront of medical innovation in San Francisco for 150 years and we're proud that our surgeons are continuing that tradition."
About St. Mary's Medical Center
For 150 years, St. Mary's Medical Center has provided the Bay Area with compassionate, personalized care combined with the latest advances in medical care and cutting-edge technology.
St. Mary's is a full-service acute care facility with more than 575 physicians and 1,100 employees who provide high-quality and affordable health care services to the Bay Area community. Home to advanced medical practices, such as the nation's first digital cardiac catheterization laboratory, pioneering spine surgery and comprehensive rehabilitation, St. Mary's Medical Center is one of San Francisco's leading hospitals, offering patients a full range of outpatient and inpatient services delivered with the human touch. For more information, please call (415) 668-1000 or visit http://www.stmarysmedicalcenter.org.
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