In November 2010, nothing appeared on Debra Brion's mammogram. But only a month later, she went for a jog and her jogging bra rubbed a spot that was sensitive. She felt a knot.
She returned to her doctor and had a biopsy. A week later, she learned she had breast cancer.
Like many patients, she acted quickly and proactively. She had a double mastectomy. But afterward, she didn't want implants.
"I would much rather have my own tissue than to have the implants," Brion says.
So she chose to have a new type of breast reconstruction, using her love handle tissue. It was a decision her husband supported.
"I do think probably the best thing in so far as it's her own tissue - there's not a foreign matter in there," says he husband Tony Brion.
Previously, surgeons have taken tissue from abdominal or buttocks area.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Ariel Rad says the procedure can slim the waistline and provides enough tissue to rebuild an entire breast.
And Dr. Rad is able to connect a blood vessel in the tissue to a blood vessel in the chest for blood. circulation.
"I'm actually disconnecting that tissue entirely and then hooking up the blood vessels back up to blood vessels in the breast area to restore the blood flow through the tissue so that it can live," Rad says.
Six weeks after her surgery, Brion says she's very happy with the results.
"It's very natural feeling. They look normal like a real breast," she says. "I lost 10 pounds! I've actually gone down a size in my clothes and feel much better about myself."
After 18 months of worrying, she's now cancer-free and looking forward to life with her family.
"To be able to just go on and do what we want to do and not be concerned anymore - with no more surgeries down the road - this was perfect," she says.