Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pre-surgery imaging eases implant anxiety

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Last updated: Tuesday October 28, 2008, EDT 8:25 PM
BY ABIGAIL LEICHMAN
SPECIAL TO THE RECORD

New three-dimensional medical imaging systems are helping mastectomy patients in North Jersey get a better idea of how they will look after reconstructive surgery.

The new technology "helps alleviate the patient’s stress over what she might look like," said Dr. Allen Rosen of The Plastic Surgery Group in Montclair. "Now they don’t need to imagine. They go into surgery feeling more reassured."

Rosen provided a physician’s perspective to the engineering team at Canfield Scientific in Fairfield, which spent two years developing software for a 3-D system. In January, he received the first Breast Sculptor for his practice. There are now a handful in use nationwide.

"Just as all women come in different shapes and sizes, so do implants," he said. "The biggest unknown with breast surgery is determining the size of the implant and hoping that they aren’t going to be too big or not big enough. This technology gives the individual woman the chance to see what she will look like after a certain implant."

When Marianne Leone of Lincoln Park visited Rosen six weeks after her mastectomy in February, the doctor took photos of her using a special camera with multiple strobes and lenses. He was then able to use a cursor to manipulate the resulting 3-D digitized images from any angle. Finally, using the software’s 3-D library of styles and sizes of gel and saline implant models, he had Leone "try them on" before choosing the best option for her.

Leone said the 3-D system helped her decide to have her remaining breast augmented to match the shape of the reconstructed side.

"It gave me a great visual image, not just like sticking an implant in a bra," said Leone, 47. "The reconstructed breast is rounder and fuller and doesn’t sag like [a breast] does on a woman my age. I saw that there was going to be a big difference and that gave me more incentive to have them both done."

Dr. Steve Fallek, an Englewood Cliffs plastic surgeon, was in on the development of another 3-D imaging system. He was one of three physicians in the nation to start using the Axis Three Portrait 3-D system a year ago.

"This gives a better, more natural way to see how the patient will look from different angles and with different sizes of implants," he said. "I can plot different points on the breast and I can add or subtract tissue and change the nipple position."

The two-dimensional systems in use today just don’t give women a realistic idea of what they will look like, Rosen said.

"It was more like drawing a breast on a picture, making the process difficult for both physicians and patients," said Rosen, a former Teaneck resident who has been doing breast reconstruction for 20 years at hospitals, including St. Mary’s in Passaic.

Both physicians said the advanced imaging helps patients with their expectations.

"If the patient says, ‘I have small breasts and I want to go bigger,’ we can show her what that will look like," said Fallek, who works mainly at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.

Three-dimensional imaging also helps the surgeon, said Rosen, an assistant clinical professor in the department of plastic surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark.

"The Breast Sculptor gives me an amazing ability to predict what I might have to do in surgery," he said. "We’re craftsmen and artists as well as physicians."

Rosen thinks more patients will begin to demand the service.

"It’s especially important to me that breast cancer patients learn about this," he said. "These women are thirsting for information on options in breast reconstruction."

Even better than the speedy recovery, Leone said, is the reassurance her new look gives to her husband and their two girls, ages 13 and 11, who had been devastated by their mother’s illness.

"This made me feel I was put back together again," she said.

New three-dimensional medical imaging systems are helping mastectomy patients in North Jersey get a better idea of how they will look after reconstructive surgery.

FILE PHOTO
"This made me feel I was put back together again," said Marianne Leone of Lincoln Park.

The new technology "helps alleviate the patient’s stress over what she might look like," said Dr. Allen Rosen of The Plastic Surgery Group in Montclair. "Now they don’t need to imagine. They go into surgery feeling more reassured."

Rosen provided a physician’s perspective to the engineering team at Canfield Scientific in Fairfield, which spent two years developing software for a 3-D system. In January, he received the first Breast Sculptor for his practice. There are now a handful in use nationwide.

"Just as all women come in different shapes and sizes, so do implants," he said. "The biggest unknown with breast surgery is determining the size of the implant and hoping that they aren’t going to be too big or not big enough. This technology gives the individual woman the chance to see what she will look like after a certain implant."

When Marianne Leone of Lincoln Park visited Rosen six weeks after her mastectomy in February, the doctor took photos of her using a special camera with multiple strobes and lenses. He was then able to use a cursor to manipulate the resulting 3-D digitized images from any angle. Finally, using the software’s 3-D library of styles and sizes of gel and saline implant models, he had Leone "try them on" before choosing the best option for her.

Leone said the 3-D system helped her decide to have her remaining breast augmented to match the shape of the reconstructed side.

"It gave me a great visual image, not just like sticking an implant in a bra," said Leone, 47. "The reconstructed breast is rounder and fuller and doesn’t sag like [a breast] does on a woman my age. I saw that there was going to be a big difference and that gave me more incentive to have them both done."

Dr. Steve Fallek, an Englewood Cliffs plastic surgeon, was in on the development of another 3-D imaging system. He was one of three physicians in the nation to start using the Axis Three Portrait 3-D system a year ago.

"This gives a better, more natural way to see how the patient will look from different angles and with different sizes of implants," he said. "I can plot different points on the breast and I can add or subtract tissue and change the nipple position."

The two-dimensional systems in use today just don’t give women a realistic idea of what they will look like, Rosen said.

"It was more like drawing a breast on a picture, making the process difficult for both physicians and patients," said Rosen, a former Teaneck resident who has been doing breast reconstruction for 20 years at hospitals, including St. Mary’s in Passaic.

Both physicians said the advanced imaging helps patients with their expectations.

"If the patient says, ‘I have small breasts and I want to go bigger,’ we can show her what that will look like," said Fallek, who works mainly at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.

Three-dimensional imaging also helps the surgeon, said Rosen, an assistant clinical professor in the department of plastic surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark.

"The Breast Sculptor gives me an amazing ability to predict what I might have to do in surgery," he said. "We’re craftsmen and artists as well as physicians."

Rosen thinks more patients will begin to demand the service.

"It’s especially important to me that breast cancer patients learn about this," he said. "These women are thirsting for information on options in breast reconstruction."

Even better than the speedy recovery, Leone said, is the reassurance her new look gives to her husband and their two girls, ages 13 and 11, who had been devastated by their mother’s illness.

"This made me feel I was put back together again," she said.

1 comment:

Samantha Martinez said...


Thank you for sharing your breast reconstruction experience with the rest of us. This can really help others in deciding if it is worth it or not.

breast augmentation Philippines