Skip to Content

Perspective: A look at the breast reconstruction process

One in eight women, and one in one-thousand men, will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Many have chemotherapy, radiation, lumpectomies or mastectomies – but not everyone has reconstruction surgery.

The Federal Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 says health insurance plans that cover mastectomies must also provide coverage for reconstruction.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Agullo was in the operating room when a surgical oncologist performed my double mastectomy, so he began the reconstruction process immediately.

He inserted expanders in each breast and filled them with blue saline solution. Why blue?

Dr. Agullo says that sometimes patients build up fluid around the expander and it can show up as red, so if its blue, he knows its leaking.

We joked that I was Smurfette because I have blue liquid in my chest.

Dr. Agullo goes on: “I like to say this is the happy part of this process because you’ve already been through a lot. It changes your life.”

Over the last few weeks the skin has been stretching to make room for the implants, since they were my only option.

The process includes finding the port on the expander, inserting a needle and injecting the saline.

I will undergo another surgery later this month to replace the expanders with a cohesive gel implant.

Dr.Agullo says he does about one-hundred reconstruction surgeries a year.

The entire process takes about a year to complete.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content