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A Female Plastic Surgeon’s Message to Breast Cancer Survivors


Each breast cancer survivor deserves to maintain her dignity, self-confidence, and the opportunity to feel beautiful both during and after her cancer treatment. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, my main message to all survivors of breast cancer is that it IS indeed possible to achieve symmetry of your breasts following cancer treatment through breast reconstruction! Additionally, it IS possible to feel good and even excited about the way you look as you recover from chemotherapy and radiation treatments, as well.

As a female Plastic Surgeon, I am able to connect on an emotional level with my breast reconstruction patients, and my goals for women who are facing breast cancer or who are long-term survivors are entirely aesthetic. I have had patient tell me that their visits to my office are the one silver lining in the entire breast cancer experience, and that they often forget they are a cancer patient when I meet with them because we talk about how they FEEL about their body, discuss their cosmetic goals for reconstruction, and we strive to make them feel comfortable in their skin and proud of their breasts!

Many of my breast cancer patients are often Moms. I encourage Moms to consider the option for breast reconstruction surgery to be part of a “Mommy Makeover,” particularly if we will be using fat from their abdomen or inner thighs to help build a breast. I truly believe that women who have gone through lumpectomy or mastectomy, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy deserve to look and feel as beautiful, symmetrical, and confident about their bodies as my cosmetic breast surgery patients. And, many of my breast reconstruction patients in fact do look as good, if not occasionally better than a regular cosmetic surgery outcome!

My office also offers breast cancer survivors noninvasive, outpatient aesthetic treatments at Horton SPA. With a focus on natural-looking results and scientifically-based treatments, my skilled Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner, Courtney McSpadden, is an expert at BOTOX® Cosmetic and Dysport® injections, dermal fillers, medical-grade skin care and peels, and intense pulsed light (IPL) rejuvenation of the skin. Specifically, our IPL machine can successfully improve the appearance of post-radiation telangiectasias (red spider veins) on the chest following radiation therapy.

As opposed to over-the-counter skin creams that promise magical results, or treatments delivered by a non-medical “medi-spa” or day spa, “medical-grade” refers to skin care products and peels that contain the highest concentration of the active ingredients that are clinically studied, based in science and/or FDA-approved. These products are generally only available in physicians’ offices such as a Plastic Surgery practice. We specifically carry many paraben-free skin care products that are recommended to breast cancer patients, given the remote, yet potential hypothesized association between parabens (preservatives) and the development of some types of breast cancer.

Additionally, non-surgical treatments such as LATISSE® can help to regrow eyelashes and eyebrow hairs following chemotherapy. Medical-grade peels can help rejuvenate the skin of the face, neck, chest/décolleté and the hands, and starting a regime of healthy skin care containing the highest concentration of active ingredients individually tailored to a woman’s specific skin type and condition can help you feel more beautiful and proactive in your recovery from breast cancer.

Contact Our Office

If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss breast reconstruction surgery or any of our Horton SPA noninvasive aesthetic treatments, please contact our office today.

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Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA