The American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM) is made up of accomplished microsurgeons from all over the world and has been promoting the advancement of microsurgical reconstruction for over 30 years. The society comes together every year to share ideas and discuss new techniques that can improve quality of life for thousands of patients. This year I was invited to speak at the society meeting, which is both a huge honor and tremendous responsibility.
My partners and I work in a unique environment where we have intentionally created an intense focus on microsurgical reconstruction to help restore women’s bodies after breast cancer treatment. The techniques we use are challenging, and require thousands of hours of study and practice to perfect. We literally work in a world where success depends on movements too small to be seen by the naked eye all while working with sutures that are smaller than a human hair. This is why so few plastic surgeons perform these techniques and few if any perform as many as the five of us do. As a result of our experience, we’ve been able to improve upon classic techniques; improving efficiency, safety, and reliability as well as introduce some of the most sophisticated reconstruction options in the world.
Rather than selfishly keep these advances to ourselves, we at the Center have always chosen to share and try to educate other physicians so they can better take care of the women in their communities. We consistently publish scientific articles, and book chapters, and travel all over the world giving lectures to share our experiences. This is why I think it’s so important to accept the call when asked to speak at an event such as this. If something that I’ve learned with my partners can benefit a woman in China, or India, or right here at home then by all means sign me up!
I sit here in the airport terminal reviewing my talk, tweaking the pictures, adjusting the fonts, trying to squeeze as much information into my presentation as possible while delivering it in such a way that it can be useful and meaningful for someone who isn’t lucky enough to have the opportunity to do this type of work everyday. This time I’ve been asked to talk about a method we created that allows women who have had breast reconstruction with their own tissue the ability to have a small breast implant added later for a bit more volume and projection if they desire it. The technique makes the implant placement safer and faster than was previously possible, and gives better results than earlier techniques. One my other partners, “Dr. D,” is speaking on breast reconstruction after nipple sparing mastectomy and as a testament to his experience and skill, microsurgeons from all over have signed up weeks in advance just to have an opportunity to sew under the microscope with him for 15 minutes to try to pick up a trick or two! Makes you proud to work with guys like that. Well, about to board now, looking forward to my talk and an opportunity to share with this prestigious society. I know that at the Center, we will keep teaching, writing, lecturing, operating, and innovating, until women all over the world have access to the reconstructive techniques that they desperately need and deserve.
Off to work now…