Local hospitals improve prep for surgery after breast cancer

Miami Valley Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital are now using a new device to prepare patients for reconstructive surgery after breast cancer more quickly, with less pain and discomfort and fewer visits to the doctor.

The device lets women prepare for reconstructive surgery with a tissue expander that’s filled with air through a remote the patient controls unlike the traditional method of saline injections.

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“We’re delighted to bring this new technology to our region,” said Mary Boosalis, president and chief executive of Premier Health, which operates the hospitals. “It promises to be much more convenient and less painful for patients who have already endured enough.”

Premier Health said in a statement that traditionally doctors insert a temporary implant during a mastectomy, which is gradually filled with saline over a period of up to several months to expand the skin and muscle of the chest wall to make space for a long-term reconstructive implant. The process requires patients to get repeated injections and make numerous trips to the doctor’s office.

The new Aeroform Tissue Expander System lets women do this on their own time outside of a doctor’s office. The product was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in December.

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Premier stated in clinical trials the system reduced the expansion process from 46 days to 21 days on average and allowed women to get long-term implants a month sooner.

“Normally, they’re bound by my office hours and their work schedules,” plastic surgeon Dr. Todd Hicks stated. “Some patients in our nine-county area live an hour away from my office.” Additionally, patients “have been poked and prodded enough” between their diagnosis and mastectomy and often hesitate to undergo a painful expansion process.

So far, the new system has been used four times locally. The first local surgery was performed June 27 by Dr. Thaddeus P. O’Neill, at Miami Valley Hospital South.

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