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Innovation built on collaboration at Brisbane Waters Private Hospital

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Brisbane Waters Private Hospital is taking a closer look at industry leading surgery which is being done on site that is helping to spare nipples during mastectomy and reconstruction surgery.

With more than nine people losing their lives to Breast Cancer each day in Australia, its never been more important to explore innovative ways to support women and men experiencing it.

For many, mastectomy is one of the first steps as part of a treatment plan and there are a range of options available to patients who would like to preserve or maintain breasts and nipples post surgery.

For Breast Cancer Awareness month Brisbane Waters Private Hospital specialists, Dr Mary Ling (Breast Surgeon) and Dr Mihaela Lefter (Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon) share insights on how they work collaboratively to offer breast cancer patients positive outcomes.

Together they collaborate to provide an immediate breast reconstruction with an innovative procedure involving nipple sparing mastectomy and implant reconstruction with external oblique muscle flap.

The procedure involves removing breast tissue with preservation of the entire breast skin envelope including the nipple areolar complex.

Following mastectomy, the external oblique muscle, the most superficial muscle of the abdominal wall, is harvested.

The implant is then positioned and covered by the pectoralis muscle and the ‘turned over’ external oblique muscle.

The entire procedure is performed through a single incision, hidden in the inframammary crease and was initially described in 1981 as a ‘living bra’, the external oblique muscle flap is useful in both immediate and delayed implant based breast reconstruction.

Compared to the more commonly used surgical meshes that lack its own blood supply, the external oblique muscle flap can provide a more robust protection of the implants against complications (including infection, extrusion and capsular contracture) and achieve a natural breast shape (with reduced implant visibility and palpability).

According to Brisbane Waters Private Hospital CEO and Director of Clinical Services Debbra Ritter, this level of collaboration and support is a focus that is embraced across multiple specialities at the hospital, offering patients the best of both worlds.

“Having both Dr Ling and Dr Lefter work collaboratively for this ground breaking, intricate reconstructive procedure, showcases how our talented specialists combine their skills sets to provide innovative solutions for our patients," Ms Ritter said.

"It is just one of the many reasons why our Woy Woy Peninsula community turn to Brisbane Waters Private Hospital for expertise and care during their most vulnerable times."

Our specialists at Brisbane Waters Private Hospital

Dr Mihalea Lefter

She is a plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon and her expertise covers a large variety of procedures including breast surgery for reconstruction, reduction/augmentation.

Dr Mary Ling

She is a general and breast surgery specialist who has qualifications in oncoplastic breast surgery through BreastSurgANZ and the Royal College of Surgeons of England. She conducts breast surgery for benign breast disease and breast cancer in addition to melanoma and skin cancer surgery among others.

Dr Sharon Laura

Dr Laura is a local Oncoplastic Breast and General Surgeon and specialises in breast surgery, treating both breast cancer patients and patients with benign breast disease. She has completed both the Level 1 and 2 oncoplastic courses, allowing her to perform immediate or delayed implant based reconstructions for breast cancer patients choosing mastectomy.

Dr Rita Poon

Dr Poon is a consultant surgeon at Brisbane Waters Private with special interest and expertise in surgical oncology and the management of breast cancer, thyroid cancer, melanoma and sarcoma.