Breasts Reconstruction After Cancer


HOUSTON, Texas. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Growing up in Poland, renowned Houston plastic surgeon Aldona Spiegel, MD, spent hours designing and sewing new clothes for her dolls. Tonight, the extraordinary story of how that passion for design led to the invention of her patented dermal brassiere, which integrates an internal corset with breasts reconstruction surgery.

Blitz Phillips is a young, newly married nurse facing a bright future. A drastic improvement from eight years ago, when she discovered she carried the BRCA1 gene and at 26, underwent a double mastectomy.

“Over the course of your lifetime, your risk is about 95 percent,” Phillips told Ivanhoe.

Or, as she says, it wasn’t if she would get breast cancer, but when. Blitz turned to Dr. Spiegel, who patented an internal reconstructive surgery procedure that includes an internal dermal brassiere.

(Read Full Interview)

“We have these beautiful young women who now are diagnosed with BRCA and need to have a preventative mastectomy,” said Dr. Spiegel.

Phillips detailed, “It affects your relationships. It affects how you look at yourself in the mirror. It affects everything mentally and physically.”

In high school, Dr. Spiegel designed her own prom dress with a fitted bodice. She modified that to create a tissue graft with collagen that conformed to the body.

“So, using this combination of collagen which acts like an internal brassiere that holds the implant, in a way that is above the muscle and isn’t deformed by the muscle, allows a direct implant reconstruction for women, like Blitz,” explained Spiegel.

Dr. Spiegel uses specially designed tools, so the implants don’t hurt post-surgery.

“She’s avoiding putting the implant under the muscle,” said Phillips.

“It’s really a marriage of art and technique and creativity,” detailed Dr. Spiegel.

Phillips told Ivanhoe, “I had the opportunity to make a choice before cancer made it for me.”

Dr. Spiegel said the emotional component of this groundbreaking surgery is just as important as the operation itself. She travels the world teaching the procedure to other surgeons and encourages cancer patients to explore all of their options before making a decision.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Donna Parker, Field Producer; Bruce Maniscalo, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4723


Breast cancer is when there is an overgrowth of cells in the breast. Men and women can have it, but it is more common in women. It begins when there is a mutation in the cell’s DNA, and this could be DNA passed from a parent, which means it was inherited. There is also an acquired mutation, which is when the mutation begins in the breast cells on its own. The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. They can be painless, hard, and irregular, or they can be tender, soft, round, or painful. Other symptoms may include breast swelling, nipple retraction, nipple discharge, swollen lymph nodes, and red, dry, flaky, or thickened breast skin.



Diagnosing breast cancer can be done through a breast exam, which is to feel if your breasts have any unusual lumps, a mammogram, which is an x-ray of the breast to see if there is an abnormality inside, a breast ultrasound, which is using sound waves to see if a lump is a mass or cyst, or a biopsy, which is when a sample of tissue is taken from the breast to determine if the cells are cancerous.



When someone is diagnosed with breast cancer, they may have surgery done. Breast-conserving surgery is when the cancerous part of the breast is removed. A mastectomy is when the entire breast is removed. After these surgeries, other options include radiation, which is when high-energy rays are used to destroy cancer cells to prevent the cancer from returning, and chemotherapy, which is when anti-cancer drugs are injected into the veins to potentially kill off remaining cancer cells.



Dr. Aldona Spiegel, a plastic surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital, created a new approach to breast reconstruction surgery so that the breast appears natural looking. Instead of placing the implant under the chest muscle and adding new collagen to the lower half, she places an internal dermal brassiere made of acellular dermal matrix that holds the implant in the same spot where the tissue was removed. This is a more natural reconstruction without deforming the muscle or grabbing the skin.



Ashley White, Senior Media Relations Specialist

Houston Methodist


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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Aldona Spiegel, M.D., Plastic Reconstructive Surgeon

Read the entire Q&A