Karen’s APEX FlapSM Story

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KTBS News Speaker 1 (00:04):
Now, Ktb S3 News continues.

KTBS News Speaker 2 (00:08):
When you think of breast reconstruction, you might immediately think of implants, but there’s another type of implant. Well, there’s no silicone, no saline, just fat tissue. Your own, you might call it the Louisiana La Yappa, a breast reconstruction with a little something extra. I go in depth tonight to show you a treatment that’s being pioneered right here in Louisiana.

Karen (00:33):
Isn’t this gorgeous? I love the front porch.

KTBS News Speaker 2 (00:36):
49 year old Karen knew she would one day hear the word cancer, but hoped she never would.

Karen (00:43):
Oh, I was devastated. Devastated. No,

KTBS News Speaker 2 (00:46):
She had a growing real estate business that didn’t include time for being sick. She watched as her mom battled for 14 years with breast cancer.

Karen (00:55):
Every year I wondered, Is this gonna be my year? Is this gonna be my year? Karen

KTBS News Speaker 2 (00:58):
Was thinking about her next real estate deal when she received a diagnosis of D C I S, the most diagnosed type of breast cancer,

Karen (01:06):
And it was hard. I was in the fog just like any other woman would be. When you get that kind of news and you just think, What am I gonna do? How’s this gonna affect my

KTBS News Speaker 2 (01:15):
Life? And not just her professional life,

Karen (01:18):
We get one body, one shot at this, and I don’t wanna be disfigured like my mother was, was very disfigured when she had her reconstruction, and I didn’t know if that was gonna be a part

KTBS News Speaker 2 (01:31):
Of it. As an agent, Karen went to work on her own behalf.

Karen (01:35):
I was diagnosed on a Friday. I started researching over the weekend, and this place just kept standing out and standing out. It just kept popping back up.

KTBS News Speaker 2 (01:43):
That place was about 300 miles south in New Orleans. St. Charles Surgical Hospital is the only hospital in the world solely dedicated to breast reconstruction. Dr. Frank Dellacroce is a microvascular reconstructive surgeon. I spoke with him via Skype,

Dr. Frank Dellacroce (02:00):
And the techniques that we do are relatively rare in terms of availability In other places,

KTBS News Speaker 2 (02:07):
A founding partner of the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery and St. Charles Surgical Hospital, Dellacroce, help pioneer a risk reduction surgery called the Apex flap.

Dr. Frank Dellacroce (02:19):
It’s a form of breast reconstruction for women who have mastectomy. It allows us to rebuild the breast. With natural living Fat.

KTBS News Speaker 2 (02:28):
Fat is taken from the lower abdominal or hip area.

Dr. Frank Dellacroce (02:31):
That fat’s taken away and the tummy is then closed tightening it and narrowing the waist as well. Then the excess flat fat is transplanted into the new breast with sophisticated microsurgical techniques.

KTBS News Speaker 2 (02:46):
But with any surgery, there are risks.

Dr. Frank Dellacroce (02:49):
The only unique risk to this type of work is much like transplant surgery. If the transplanted fat doesn’t perform or doesn’t succeed for some reason, fortunately, that’s a very rare, less than a percentage point.

KTBS News Speaker 2 (03:01):
The procedure isn’t new. It’s been perfected over the last 20 years,

Dr. Frank Dellacroce (03:05):
Three years. So again, it’s a microsurgical technique, very precise and relatively time consuming. It takes anywhere from six to eight hours to do the operations for our patients.

Karen (03:15):
I feel amazing. I feel wonderful. The care that I received is just out of this world. There’s just no other place like that.

KTBS News Speaker 2 (03:23):
Initially, Karen wanted to keep her story private, not anymore.

Karen (03:28):
And so I wanna be the voice that tells everybody. We have great plastic surgeons here, but this is a specialty. It’s the only place and the whole entire world dedicated to just breast reconstruction, and these doctors are in the top 5% in the world.

Dr. Frank Dellacroce (03:42):
The idea is to remove the scars and disfigurement associated with breast cancer and replace it with hope and something beautiful, and in the process, make the experience a high quality event as well.

Karen (03:54):
That’s my message. And get your mammograms real quick. And this

KTBS News Speaker 2 (04:00):
One is The Natural Tissue transplantation procedure is covered by insurance. Also, Dr. D also says that every week he’s replacing traditional implants with the natural tissue transplantation. For a link to more information on breast transplantation, look for this story on our website. Under Health.

After researching dozens of facilities, Karen Hoell found the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery and underwent APEX FlapSM reconstruction. Pioneered at the Breast Center, the APEX FlapSM allows for the natural anatomy and blood vessels to be rearranged to perfectly preserve the abdominal muscles and improve blood flow to the tissue transplant when necessary. Karen is a mother, wife, and lover-of-life who originally wanted to keep her diagnosis private, but friends and family encouraged her to tell her story and let others know they are not alone. On her blog, “Ticking Time Bombs,” Karen candidly walks readers through her fears and triumphs during such a difficult time with the perfect mix of vulnerability, sincerity, and humor.