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There's Still Work To Do

Oct 10, 2016 12:50PM ● By News Desk

There's Still Work to do: Reconstructive Surgery After Breast Cancer

A breast cancer diagnosis is a shock, what follows is months of painful, uncomfortable and sometimes terrifying treatment.  Between doctors, specialists, clinics and hospitals, the future can be hard to see.  For many women, the day will come that she can look forward to a life without cancer, but she also may be facing life in a body that looks and feels different than her own. 

Dr. Bennett Boustany Fontenot

"Dr. Fontenot performed my breast reconstruction surgery after having a bilateral mastectomy," says Allison Walters, "I can remember telling my mom how much I really liked him."

Allison Walters first consulted Dr. Bennett Boustany Fontenot at his practice with Dr. Joseph P. Lupo, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery of Acadiana, after her mastectomies.  The cancer treatment was complete, but now she had to decide how she wanted to move forward, and breast reconstruction was her answer.

"Finding a surgeon you are comfortable with is key," explains Dr.  Fontenot, "there's no 'right way,' there are pros and cons to every method of breast reconstruction."

Allison says consulting with Dr. Fontenot and Dr. Lupo made her feel at ease and brought a sense of confidence she needed, "I never felt uncomfortable or that I needed to see someone else for another opinion. I actually looked forward to my appointments,” explains Allison.

The way a doctor approaches their patient plays a big part in how the patient feels about the overall experience, but the surgeon's approach should be considered, as well.  Body shape, anatomy and overall health may affect the overall outcome.  Both Dr. Fontenot and Dr. Lupo have been trained by plastic surgeons known throughout the world and double trained in General Surgery and Plastics.    

Dr. Joseph P. Lupo

Dr. Lupo says, "This is a very technical procedure, and every body type should be approached differently.  For example, a patient with larger breasts, even if only one breast was removed during cancer treatment, both breasts may need to be reconstructed to make sure everything looks and feels appropriate."

There are factors outside of the surgical unit that will impact the approach such as, what type of lifestyle does the patient have?  Some procedures use muscles from other parts of the body to help in breast reconstruction, but for many athletic women, that could seriously change their activity level.

"We don't want to rush, options should be weighed and discussed.  Patients who are informed make the best decisions," says Dr. Lupo, "Hopefully this surgery marks the end of a trying period in their lives and the start of something better."

Well trained surgeons like Dr. Fontenot and Dr. Lupo at Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery of Acadiana have experience handling the intricacies of breast reconstruction surgery.  Women need to feel comfortable and get as much information as possible before making a decision.  

"It was so easy to talk to him about the plan that was best for me. He is great, everyone in the office is personable. I still go by to visit, I consider them friends," says Allison.

Breast reconstruction can go a long way to making the patient feel like themselves again, it's an important step in ultimate recovery.

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