“I continue to be humbled by the impact this work has, both on the women I treat and the people who care about them. The effects of breast reconstruction have the capacity to transcend the surgical techniques, providing the final link in the circle of treatment, a return to wholeness, and an overall sense of recovery.”
- Frank J. DellaCroce, MD, FACS
Frank J. DellaCroce, MD, FACS, is co-founder of the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery (CRBS) and the St. Charles Surgical Hospital– the only hospital in the world dedicated to breast reconstruction for women facing breast cancer. Board certified in Plastic Surgery, he is changing the lives for breast cancer survivors. As a world leader in breast reconstruction techniques, he is pioneering revolutionary approaches and making women feel whole again. Dr. DellaCroce is an expert in the DIEP, GAP, and SIEA Flap procedures, referred to as Perforator Flaps, that allow for reconstruction of the breast without the sacrifice of important functional muscle units in the abdomen (DIEP/SIEA) or gluteal region (GAP). The restored breast is typically very natural looking with softness and shape that closely resemble that of one’s own breast. In addition to routine approaches to breast reconstruction, Dr. DellaCroce has pioneered several groundbreaking procedures in collaboration with Scott K. Sullivan MD, FACS, co-founder of the CRBS. As a result, their center draws patients to New Orleans from all over the continental US. The Center has an international reputation as well, and patients have traveled for care from Germany, Canada, the UK, Africa, Puerto Rico, and Israel.
The Bilateral Simultaneous Gap Reconstruction (SGAP Flap) and the Stacked Flap (Stacked DIEP) Reconstruction are revolutionizing breast reconstruction surgery. Dr. DellaCroce and Dr. Sullivan were the first surgeons in the world to develop a protocol that allows those seeking reconstruction of both breasts the option of reconstruction in one operation when the tummy tissue is insufficient. Historically, GAP Flap procedures have been performed one breast at a time requiring two separate operations usually several weeks apart. Dr. DellaCroce performs this procedure routinely on those women who are either thin or athletic or for other reasons are not candidates for the procedures that borrow from the abdominal fatty excess. Also pioneered at the CRBS, the Stacked Flap provides another option for the thin woman who needs reconstruction of only one breast. This procedure allows for use of more abdominal fatty tissue than conventional TRAM procedures or Single DIEP Flap procedures. Using sophisticated microsurgical techniques, Dr. DellaCroce is able to provide a greater volume to the reconstructed breast than has been historically possible. His development of the Stacked Flap has provided the opportunity for reconstruction with abdominal tissue for women who would have previously not been candidates.
Dr. DellaCroce has performed over two thousand successful Perforator Flap surgeries on women from all over the world who seek out his expertise. He has also pioneered another extraordinary technique known as a Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy, during which the breast skin and nipple area are preserved. The procedure, which removes the breast tissue under the skin and nipple, is performed through a small incision allowing for a natural looking reconstruction while avoiding additional scars on the breast. A traditional mastectomy generally leaves a scar across the reconstructed breast and removes the nipple and areola. With skin/nipple-sparing mastectomy, breast tissue is removed while a “shell” of skin is left behind. The envelope is then filled with tissue from the abdomen or buttocks. The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery continues to be sought out with ever increasing frequency by women for redo procedures when reconstructions performed elsewhere fall short of their hopes.
The procedures Dr. DellaCroce performs for his patients not only repair the damage of cancer, but also the emotional scars that are often left behind after a breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment. The CRBS, feeling an overwhelming responsibility to its patients, created a monthly support group series, which is also open to the general public. The meetings are centered on all aspects of treatment and recovery from breast cancer.
Dr. DellaCroce received his medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Science Center. He completed both his General Surgery internship and Head and Neck Surgery Residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas before returning to LSU for a second residency in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is a member of numerous societies including the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery. Dr. DellaCroce is an honorary board member of the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure and a clinical instructor for both the LSU and Tulane Divisions of Plastic Surgery. He serves on the advisory board for FORCE, an organization dedicated to educating women about genetics and breast cancer. He has published numerous articles pertaining to breast reconstruction in such publications as Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Clinics in Plastic Surgery, and the Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery. He has lectured extensively throughout the United States and was recently the Keynote Speaker at the Susan G. Komen Annual Conference. The American Cancer Society has named Dr. DellaCroce a Spirit Award Honoree for going above and beyond in the fight against cancer. Best Doctors, Inc. recently named Dr. DellaCroce, one of the “Best Doctors in America.”