In March, Lakeway Regional Medical Center, 100 Medical Parkway, Lakeway, joined three other Central Texas hospitals in completing successful double mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction surgery procedures.
Performed for the first time at Lakeway Regional Medical Center by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Whitfield, who co-owns the Breast and Body Center of Austin, 1510 W. 34th St., Ste. 100, Austin, the surgery involves moving skin, fat and deep inferior epigastric perforators, or DIEP, blood vessels from the lower abdomen and attaching it to the breast tissue following a mastectomy, he said.
This surgery is beginning to take precedence over the transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous, or TRAM, flap surgery because it does not sacrifice or damage any abdominal muscles, Whitfield said. The DIEP procedure reduces pain post-surgery and allows for a faster recovery, he said.
The surgery typically removes 94 to 96 percent of the breast tissue, greatly reducing the chance cancer can recur, Whitfield said. In cases in which women do not have breast cancer but are found to be genetically predisposed to cancer, the double mastectomy radically lessens the chance of the patient ever receiving a diagnosis, he said.
The surgery Whitfield performed March 9 at LRMC was on a 43-year-old female with genetically predisposed invasive cancer, he said.
“She’s been a really good patient,” Whitfield said. “She didn’t have any trouble after surgery, which is great.”
He said post-surgery recovery takes about six weeks.
LRMC Director of Marketing Christin Cross said the hospital recruited Whitfield as part of its efforts to build a breast health center by the end of the year.