STUART, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- When 42 year-old Florida resident Teia Giraud learned she had breast cancer, her world changed. She studied the ABCs of the disease, starting with the terms abnormal, biopsy and carcinoma. Armed with a new medical-laden vocabulary, she navigated the pros and cons of different treatment options. Before the battle was over, she had to mentally prepare herself for the rebuilding of her body.
Last year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS), approximately 93,000 women underwent reconstruction following a single or double mastectomy, up nearly 20 percent from 2000. Why? In the past decade major advances in the evolution of the mastectomy technique have minimized the occurrence of a disfiguring scar. Also, it is widely believed that breast reconstruction provides significant psychosocial benefits for women during the course of their recovery.
“For me, there was never a question of whether or not I would have breast reconstruction,” said Giraud, today a five-year survivor of breast cancer. “Mentally and emotionally, I needed to wake up from the nightmare of breast cancer intact, and that meant having newly constructed breasts.”
In the U.S. today, nearly 70 percent, or 64,000 women, elect to undergo breast reconstruction using a method involving a tissue expander followed by an implant. Tissue expanders are inserted below the skin and muscle and inflated over several months to stretch and grow the skin to create space for the permanent implant.
A new technique with important benefits for women undergoing breast reconstruction surgery includes the use of the silicone implant delivery device called the KELLER FUNNEL™. Created by plastic surgeon Kevin Keller, M.D., the Keller Funnel™ provides doctors with an improved way to gently insert implants and reduces the risk of introducing contaminants that could cause infection or other clinical complications.
“By the time women have been through their mastectomy and immediate reconstruction, they have been through so much emotionally and physically in terms of the scarring and healing process,” said South Carolina-based Dr. Keller. “The design of the Funnel™ simplifies the surgery because I can often eliminate one of the two incisions, which reduces risks such as infection and speeds up the recovery time for my patients.”
To optimize the aesthetic outcome of the reconstruction, the plastic surgeon generally inserts silicone sizers (temporary implants) to evaluate size before introducing the permanent implants. Both the sizers and implants must be inserted through the same incision using the surgeon’s fingers to push and pull them through. Resistance occurs when the implants rub against the incision, causing trauma to the skin edges. Cells and germs from the skin edges may contaminate the implant shell. Employing the Funnel’s no-touch technique eliminates the resistance allowing the implant to easily slip into the surgically created breast pocket without ever coming in contact with the incision site.
With advances in surgical techniques and tools like the Keller Funnel™ (www.kellerfunnel.com), women like Teia and the 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States, can emerge from the war on breast cancer better equipped and a little less scarred than ever before.
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INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Women Surgery Health Hospitals Medical Devices Oncology Other Health Consumer