Thirty-three percent of women choose to get breast reconstruction surgery after having a mastectomy.
This low rate may come as a surprise to some, but when you consider today’s long process of using needle-based, saline expanders, you might see why some women opt out of this process.
Now, a new remote-controlled device is helping ease some of that pain and fear.
Marie Jobson and her husband are bringing southern BBQ to California, but her restaurant had to be put on the back burner when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"The double mastectomy was the right choice for me," Marie Jobson said.
But following a mastectomy, she had to make a very personal choice on breast reconstruction. Raditional saline expanders can take up to six months, with at least one, 15 minute doctor visit a week, and with each visit comes a painful needle.
"It requires poking a needle through skin, through muscle, and into the implant," said Dr. Kamakshi R. Zeidler, a plastic surgeon in Campbell, Calif.
Now, there is a new remote-controlled device called the AeroForm that uses air instead of saline. It cuts the expansion time from months to a couple of weeks. It also allows women to inflate the implant at their own rate, up to three times a day, with no needles.
"Within this implant is a cartridge of compressed CO2 and this little red area is an antenna. It's activated by the remote," Zeidler said.
All a woman has to do is push a button. Then, the remote activates a valve and the CO2 is released. Jobson said she gets three doses a day, each at 10 cc.
"This is one less visit to the doctor," she said.
It’s giving women like Jobson control and time back.
Zeidler said that patients cannot dose too much. The remote is programmed to allow only three doses a day and up to 30 cc, which is less than what they put in traditional saline expanders in an average visit.