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In May 2013, the celebrity Angelina Jolie decided to undergo double mastectomy surgery to provide audience and patients with better understanding of breast reconstruction and cancer. Angelina Jolie was diagnosed with BRCA 1 mutation that causes the breast cancer and ovarian cancer to develop. Angelina had lost her aunt, mother and grandmother to cancer. She was planning to get the cancer treatment for long but tests results showed grave danger and she had to undergo the treatment immediately. Angelina Jolie was public about her breast cancer treatment and the treatment procedure was made public and is described as below

Diagnosing and preparing

All the people who have been diagnosed with BRCA mutation are required to provide all the medical related information and their future plans as well. The information includes if they are going to have kids, if they are planning to breast feed their children and what are their expectations from the operation. Before undergoing the operation, surgeon and patient need to make the choice of whatever to have nipple preserved or perform the nipple delay procedure. They also have to choose between the breast reconstructions procedure and choose the place of incision. The surgeon chooses the appropriate medicines for healing and recovery after the operation and prescribes the medicine to prepare for the breast reconstruction procedure ahead.

Reconstruction choice

There are two types of breast reconstruction surgery procedures available. One procedure uses body’s own tissues to recreate the breast whereas the other procedure places the saline bag or silicone implant inside the body. Angelina Jolie’s body was best suited to implant reconstruction with transplant. Though tissue expanders needed an extra operation, she most well-liked to use them.  Expanders maximize blood flow to the breast skin and cause the breast tissue to create pocket large enough for implants to fit completely in the size and shape chosen by the patient and surgeon.

Medicines used:

Angelina Jolie was given following prescription to prepare for the breast reconstruction procedure.

  • For wound healing : Vitamin C 1000mg Tablets, Multi-vitamin Tablets and Zinc 50MG tablet
  • To reduce the danger of infection: Bactroban Ointment and Kelflex. Additionally Hibicleans soap was prescribed to keep infections away from body.
  • For Nausea and vomiting:  Emed (40mg)
  • To Eliminate Aesthetics: 10 drops of Exchem and Lymphomyosot
  • To eliminate bruising and sweating:  Arnica Forte (3tabs daily)
  • To minimize scarring: BioCorneum.

Operation

Angelina selected to own her care, together with her 3 operations, performed at the Pink Lotus Breast Center. All the operations were performed there and post operational care was given to her in her home. Before two weeks of Mastectomy, Angelina Jolie went through the procedure known as nipple delay. It is a procedure that cuts the blood vessels from the nipple off so that it isn’t relying on other parts of body for blood circulation. After the operation, Angelina’s skin was slightly bruised and showed red patches but after two days of operation her skin and breast nipples started looking normal.

She went through the main surgery on 16th of February and it lasted for eight hours. After the mastectomies, she went through first stage of breast implants with allograft. On fourth day of the mastectomy, she got the first drain, it was done by using  six drains, three on each side of her breast.  On fifth day after the surgery first injection of saline was given to her implants. Within next three days, four of six drains were removed from her body and then saline bags were placed inside her body on 9th day and remaining drains were removed as well. After ten weeks of mastectomy, she got the last surgery and it was successful as well.

CONCLUSION

Many women don’t recognize that BRCA mutations exist and will have an effect on them. Breast and ovaries cancer affect thousands of lives every month and the number is increasing rapidly. Angelina Jolie’s public Breast Reconstruction helped many people understand the procedure and the awareness should spread everywhere.

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