MIAMI -- (11/20/2017) -- Coping with breast cancer surgery and treatment can be draining. But preparing for breast reconstruction can also be a painful process, until now. See how new technology is making the journey easier on patients.
Ana Alvarez is busy working and taking care of her aging mother. But she never thought she would be the one needing help.
“I found out I had breast cancer when I went for a regular mammography,” Alvarez told Ivanhoe.
Ana was shocked and scared.
“I spent like probably about a week, I didn’t tell anybody,” said Alvarez.
After careful thought, she decided to undergo a bilateral mastectomy, followed by reconstruction.
“The gold standard is to perform some type of reconstruction at the time of the cancer treatment,” Jaime Flores, MD, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgeons LLC explained.
Dr. Flores says reconstruction means using tissue expanders to prepare the area for breast implants.
“I always tell my patients this is one of the most painful procedures we do,” said Dr. Flores.
That is until now. Traditional expanders required patients to have the implants injected with saline at the doctor’s office.
Dr. Flores continued, “And they would go home and have pain for two to three days.”
Now new technology called AeroForm is changing the way expanders work.
Dr. Flores explained, “You have a Bluetooth device.”
Using a controller pre-set by the doctor, the patient administers small amounts of compressed CO2 into the expander three times a day. Patients control the size they want to expand- from the comfort of home. Ana loved the convenience.
“It was so easy and so manageable. There was no pain involved,” Alvarez explained.
With her reconstruction complete, Ana’s back to making her mother’s traditional homemade flan.
AeroForm also allows patients to fully expand and be ready for reconstructive surgery in half the time as the traditional saline expanders; three weeks compared to almost two months. The FDA-approved device is covered by insurance. For more information on AeroForm air expanders see the related links section of this story.