Patient Stories


Home > Patients & Visitors > Patient Stories > Breast Cancer Survivor’s Story
One-Step Reconstruction Surgery Helps Breast Cancer Patients

Lynn_Sloan_webLynn considers herself lucky. Even after receiving a diagnosis of cancer.

Doctors told Lynn that an annual mammogram enabled them to detect the cancer early – when it was easiest to treat. Even after the mammogram results showed the location of the tumor, Lynn and her physicians could not feel the tumor.

That is why, today, she stresses the importance of annual mammograms to her family and friends. Lynn was surprised at the diagnosis, “I wasn’t high risk. I didn’t have a history of breast cancer or any cancer at all,” she shares.

Lynn considers herself blessed. “When you consider you have cancer, I had it about as easy as you can have it.”

Lynn’s cancer was found early, but she attributes the ease of recovery to having just one surgery – one surgery where they removed the tumor and performed breast reconstruction at the same time. It is called one-step reconstruction, and it is making a difference in patients’ recovery at the Saint Elizabeth Breast Care Center.

Dr. Orchard and Dr. Mathieu Hinze are the only two plastic surgeons in the state that offer the procedure. The benefit to patients is twofold – it allows them to get back to their daily lives quicker and provides a psychological boost.

Direct-to-implant reconstruction eliminates the need for tissue expansion. Tissue expansion is when expanders are placed in the breast tissue to create a pocket to hold the implant. After the tissue is expanded, a second surgery is performed to insert the implants. Recovery can take up to five months.

With direct-to-implant reconstruction, women leave the hospital after their breast cancer surgery with reconstruction in place. Recovery time is reduced from months to weeks. Some patients recover in as little as three weeks.

Dr. Hinze

Dr. Orchard

It also offers patients a psychological boost. “Instead of waking up and seeing a scar and flat chest, our patients see their reconstruction,” says Dr. Orchard.

Lynn shares that she would recommend one-step reconstruction to other women facing breast cancer. “It seems so logical to me,” she says. “I am a working mother, so being able to do everything in one surgery made it easier.”

Lynn was able to return to work in three weeks. “That wouldn’t have happened if I had to have a second surgery. Then I think, ‘Would I have even had the second surgery? Then, would I be dealing with a prosthesis instead of feeling pretty whole,’” continues Lynn.

Preparing for breast surgery class

When Lynn learned that Saint Elizabeth offers a Preparing for Breast Surgery Class, she knew she wanted to attend. “I believe the more information the better,” says Lynn.

“When you talk to the doctors it is all medical When, I talked with Karen, the instructor, it was about me and what I can do to make this a better for me,” adds Lynn.

Reflecting on her experience at the Saint Elizabeth Breast Care Center, Lynn shared that she felt blessed to receive the excellent care from her team of physicians that helped her throughout treatment and beyond.

“I love Saint Elizabeth. This is my hospital. It is a beautiful place,” shares Lynn.