UMMC offers new options for mastectomy patients - - Jackson, MS

UMMC offers new options for mastectomy patients

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

In an unusual medical procedure, UMMC physicians use a woman's own tissues instead of an implant to reconstruct a cancer victim's breast. This is a more natural option for cancer patients. 

43-year-old Nekesha Moore was diagnosed with breast cancer in December. The mother of two underwent the normal range of emotions from shock to hope.

"At first I was numb and it took me a couple of hours to call my family because I was home alone when I got the call," Moore recalled Thursday at the UMMC Cancer Center at the Jackson Medical Mall.

She underwent a mastectomy, but when it came to reconstructive surgery she was given an unusual option, one not often done in this state. It's called DIEP, for deep inferior epigastric artery perforator.

"I was very excited because I thought that being a young woman I would have to go around with one breast," said Moore. 

Moore's UMMC surgeons moved fat, skin and blood vessels from the patients abdomen to form a new breast. 

Dr. Ben McIntyre Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery and a fellowship-trained breast surgeon said the DIEP flap is different than an implant in that the tissue is your tissue.  

"It's the most natural feeling and life like that you can ever get. It will be there forever." Dr. Ben stated.

No muscle is removed and most women recover more quickly and have a higher probability of maintaining good abdominal strength. This can be lost through similar procedures that call for removal of not just fat, but surrounding muscle.

The mastectomy and DIEP procedure are performed during the same operation.  The surgery usually lasts 8 hours. UMMC surgeons have performed the procedure on 40-50 cancer patients yet many woman don't realize they have this option. 

"A lot of women don't have a good idea that this is out there," according to Dr. McIntyre.  "It's not for everyone.  DIEP is a delicate surgical procedure."

Dr. McIntyre said women who have an aggressive breast cancer and who need radiation therapy sometimes choose to have a mastectomy and reconstruction separately.  

"For women who have both procedures during the same surgery, it's a long operation. Few women have problems with recovering following a DIEP procedure," McIntyre said.  "It's technically very challenging. The blood vessels is the key part. its very similar to a transplant. We are transplanting tissue from the abdominal wall up to the chest."  

A mammography caught the cancer early. This Byram mother of two says she feels blessed. She says she is thankful for the DIEP procedure and her health.

Because her cancer was discovered so early, she did not have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation before or after her mastectomy.  

"Once I had this surgery, I feel like I used to feel, like no problems, " exclaimed Moore as she flashed a bright smile.

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