TINTON FALLS, N.J., Oct. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Finding a lump during a breast self-exam is terrifying for any woman. Unfortunately, one in eight women will develop a lump that results in a breast cancer diagnosis. Yvonne Zucco is one out of those eight.
Earlier this year, Yvonne felt a lump in her left breast and underwent immediate mammography near her home in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania. This led to a biopsy performed by breast surgeon Dr. Archit Naik, which led to a devastating diagnosis of Stage IIA breast cancer with metastasis to her lymph nodes. With help and encouragement from her children and grandchildren, Yvonne underwent four months of aggressive chemotherapy with the plan of subsequent bilateral mastectomy.
Luckily, she was an ideal candidate for a skin, nipple and areola-sparing mastectomy with immediate multi-stage reconstruction. This would, however, include expanders and additional surgery for implants. There was, fortunately, an innovative option offered by Naik's colleague, Dr. Stephen Chagares: a robotic nipple-sparing mastectomy with no visible scarring on the breast and immediate one-stage breast reconstruction.
Dr. Chagares, a board-certified breast surgeon, has been performing mastectomies for 23 years and robotic operations for years. Upon invitation to The European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy, Dr. Chagares trained under Dr. Antonio Toesca, the pioneer of robotic mastectomy. With robotic assistance, Dr. Chagares makes a small, 3 cm incision to the side of the breast, tucked neatly beneath the armpit. Dr. Naik further explained that another colleague, Dr. Andrew Elkwood, a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, could immediately place her implants during the same operation in a one-stage manner. Upon hearing it was possible to have a mastectomy without scars on the breasts and immediate one-stage reconstruction, Yvonne made appointments with Dr. Chagares and Dr. Elkwood.
Upon meeting with Dr. Chagares, Yvonne learned that her robotic nipple-sparing mastectomy would result in the total removal of breast tissue. Dr. Chagares assured her that the single robotic-assisted incision would be well off to the side, hiding the scar under her armpit, with immediate implant placement to follow. "To be able to wake from surgery, look down, not see any visible scars and have my nipples and areolas intact with implants in, is amazing," Yvonne recalled from her consultation with Dr. Chagares.
On Sept. 14, Yvonne was the first cancer patient ever to have a robotic nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in the United States. Two days later, she returned home. One week from the day of her procedure, her drains were removed. Dr. Chagares happily reported that Yvonne was cancer-free. Yvonne is now back to her routine: five grandchildren keeping her busy; co-workers who missed her; and daughters who still have their mother — all without the glaring, visual reminder that comes with a traditional mastectomy.
"Robotic mastectomy, with immediate reconstruction, opens the door to a new era of mastectomy and a new outlook for patients who are candidates, offering a modern approach to an operation that has been so physically, emotionally and psychologically scarring is remarkable," says Dr. Chagares.
Dr. Chagares is proud to lead the first program of its kind in the United States, paving the way for a future of breast cancer care, starting with robotic mastectomy. He offers this revolutionary procedure at various hospitals throughout Monmouth County, New Jersey.
SOURCE Dr. Stephen A. Chagares