SARASOTA, Fla. – According to the American Cancer Society, more than 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will affect women in the U.S. this year. Now Suncoast surgeons are using a new procedure with a quicker recovery.
Women on the Suncoast undergoing mastectomy and reconstruction may now be candidates for nipple sparing surgery, thanks to the skilled hands of a handful of specially trained surgeons using an instrument called the PlasmaBlade.
Tanya Kukrecht knows how physically and emotionally devastating cancer treatment and surgery is. She helps women with prosthetics following mastectomy, designs and sends wigs to women in the U.S. who've lost their hair to chemotherapy. She says we've come a long way. “With new instruments, and new ways of doing and new chemo, and new way of doing surgery, it is much less devastating.”
Now, a new surgical device with the precision of a scalpel uses radio frequency energy to perform the most delicate of surgeries. “The PlasmaBlade has caused a lot less thermal and tissue damage, which has allowed us to look more into nipple sparing mastectomy and straight to implant reconstruction.”
It’s a huge revolution in breast cancer and preventative breast cancer care, says
plastic surgeon Dr. Alissa Shulman, who performs the nipple sparing surgery. “This allows us to remove the breast tissue and leave the entire envelop of the breast, which includes the nipple, the areola and all the surrounding skin, which really preserves not only the shape and color of your breast, but can even occasionally preserve the feeling of the nipple.”
Kukrecht says the skin sparing surgery is the best news for women with breast cancer that are candidates. “Women will not have to be without a breast after it’s been removed.”
For surgeons, traditional surgical environments have their challenges. “You get smoke, you get odor, you get particles flying.”
The PlasmaBlade can control bleeding while cutting. For patients, there's less scarring, and quicker recovery
“A patient can look at themselves and go, ok, I'm going to get past the cancer, and I still have my breast,” says Shulman.
The PlasmaBlade is also used in a variety of other procedures, including plastic and reconstructive surgery, orthopedics, pacemaker generator, and lead implants and revisions.