Patient Stories

Letter and Comments from our Patients


The following are taken from letters and comments from a number of our gracious patients whose continued support has served as voice of hope and encouragement for those to follow them. Please contact our office for a list of our patients, so that you might select a “friend” whose circumstances are similar to your own.

“April made 1 year since my stage 2 surgery. Dr, Trahan was my doctor. He was awesome and so was everyone at The Center and at St. Charles Surgical Hospital. They made a bad thing into a good thing. They were all so supportive . I am so thankful to everyone at The Center from the receptionist to all the nursing staff and the doctors. I tell everyone about the wonderful and caring staff. They are truly a gift from God. I thank God everyday for leading me to them.”

“I had a doctors appointment today, they were, how can I say, AMAZED at my new nipple. I have one of my “own” and one created by Dr. D. The doctor came in about 2 inches away, was pushing, touching, COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. She said, “That is the best nipple I have ever seen…!!!” It is moments like this that I am so very glad I went all out and went to NOLA. Well, every day I am glad really, I feel so RESTORED!”

“I have learned so much since being diagnosed with breast cancer. It seems I spent four months crying and frantically researching the Internet looking for answers since the information I was given seemed so inadequate. I know God led me to your website and ultimately to The Center. A place where I could find something that was right for me.”

“Due to circumstances I traveled from Montana to New Orleans alone for the procedure. I never felt alone. Everyone made me feel at home. I never felt scared. This was my 4th surgery and you would think by far the most traumatic. Instead it was the most peaceful. I felt safe and knew what would take place. I trusted that everyone understood my needs and would do what was best for me. I had not felt that way ever since my diagnosis.”

“Surgery was on March 4th. On the 5th I was walking the hall in the ICU. There was very little discomfort. On March 6th I went back to McFarland, walked a mile and rode the trolley. On the 9th I had oysters and a Mango Daiquiri for breakfast. From the 6th on, I never missed a day riding the trolley to the French Quarter. On April 24th I’ll be running a 10k race.”

“I have shown my new breast to more people than I can count and they’re all amazed at the wonderful new beginning. Many of them have seen the results of breast cancer before. My husband says the same thing, “You can’t tell.” I know he would have said that no matter what, but the difference is I know it’s true.”

“Just a note to thank you all for everything when my husband and I were out in New Orleans for my surgery on July 1st. I also wanted to share with you my front page article in our local newspaper. 10 days after my revision surgery, I completed the American Cancer Society’s 62.5 mile bike-a-thon. For almost six hours that day it was me, the bike and the girdle. What a ride! My recuperation has always been so minimal… enabling me to get right back into the swing of things. There is no place better to go than The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery. I am proof. Thank you all…” – KM

“Hello Dr. Dellacroce, you just performed a miracle on me 2 weeks ago by correcting/failed tram with a hip flap on my failed tram flap/disfigured side of my chest. I was with you a long time (in surgery) but I was out of it LOL! I just want to make sure that you know how much I appreciate all you have done for me!! I get teary eyed when I think of it. I know that no one else would of taken my case or even cared , at least the doctors here had no answer for me and just kind of whisked me away to leave me like that. You have done a wonderful job and I can’t believe how you built me up! I can now get dressed and wear a V neck or scooped neck shirt and my chest is not all concaved. No more high neck shirts for me!! Can’t wait to get in a bathing suit! What a joy! Thank you thank you thank you. With drains and all I look 100% better than I did and I am not even finished yet! My husband and daughter are so happy for me too! They can’t believe what a great job you did. When I got home I just about had to strip for them while they examined everything you did. This has been a long journey for me and I am so thankful to have found you and your Hospital. What a wonderful experience, it felt like a dream!! I am telling everyone /daily to go to NOLA for their reconstruction. It is a no brainer! Why would anyone want any other kind of reconstruction? And get the care we get when we are there! Just not informed, like me when I got started. There is no time to research and you have to make quick decisions and rely on your doctor to inform you about ALL options which they don’t. Wish I came to you 3 years ago but I am glad I came now! Looking forward to Stage2!! How soon can that be! Can’t wait!!”

“Hey girls. Just wanted to share this with you. I went in for my 6 month cancer check up yesterday at Cedar Sinai Cancer Center in Beverly Hills. My oncologist is one of the busiest, most respected doctors in California. He has had thousands of patients over the past 20+ years, and unfortunately many of them with breast cancer. I took off my top for my check up and he was in awe of the job Dr. S had done. He said “That is the best reconstruction I have ever seen in my career.” Then he asked me why I left my nipples on. At this point I almost jumped off the table and hugged him. I then told him that Dr. S had reconstructed those too. That is how real they look, I even fooled him. Then, I showed him my belly. Again, he took a step back and was amazed at how “beautiful” my incision was (hey, I will take that as a compliment). He said the belly looked amazing and that the breasts felt and looked better than anything he had ever felt or seen. He said the sag was perfect, they felt like breasts, that they were beautiful, etc. Basically they looked better than any TRAM he had ever seen or felt. It is amazing to me that a cutting-edge hospital such as Cedar Sinai knows nothing about the DIEP flap. He agreed that it was worth the traveling to get the results that I got and was amazed at how gifted Dr. S is. He agreed that at 35 I deserved nothing but the best and that is what I got with Dr. S. My self esteem was already fully restored a month ago, now I just feel beautiful again. And, I am 11 years out and NO CANCER. WOOOHOOO!!!! I am a cancer survivor and a BC previvor and I look damn good if I don’t say so myself!!!”

“You’re not the only one getting this kind of reaction from your docs. When I went to my oncologist a few months ago (BEFORE revisions and nipples), she couldn’t believe her eyes and asked for Dr. S’s card. She does genetic counseling and wants to refer her patients for whom she recommends pbm’s to him. I happen to carry a stack of his cards in my purse and gave half the pile to her. When I went to my dermatologist for post-surgical steroid shots in my incisions, he hesitated when he got to my nipples and said, “I’m sorry but this is going to really hurt.” Even though he was fully aware that my breasts are completely fake, he was fooled at that moment into thinking that they were real. I told him that if they did hurt, I would jump for joy. I also saw my breast surgeon recently about a suspicious lump I found in my armpit. She arranged for me to have an ultrasound right away. As I was walking down to the imaging department, she got her radiologist friends on the phone and told them to be sure to check out my reconstruction (also BEFORE revisions and nipples). After my ultrasound, they came in to tell me that my lump was nothing to worry about and to ask about my reconstruction. I didn’t hesitate to lift up my shirt to show them. They were floored. They told me that I have the breasts of a sixteen year old and that this type of reconstruction, which they had never heard of before, makes perfect common sense and exactly what they would want if they were in my shoes. Even though my breast surgeon, who is also known as the best in my state, delighted in showing me off to her friends, she has been quite reticent and unwilling to express her enthusiasm in front of me. She simply says, “We doctors are always learning from you patients.” There is no doubt that she is impressed, but at the same time worried that if word got out she would lose a lot of business. It is a terrible shame that the quality of our care in this country often boils down to money. BTW, I’m in NOLA right now for tattoos and minor revisions. I was dx’d with bc at the age of 35, a year ago. I was telling someone here at the hospital about my experience and she said, “What a shame! You’re so young! In your twenties with bc!” Before I knew it, my arms were wrapped around her and I was giving her a gigantic hug. Five months ago, I had no boobs and no hair. Now my oncologist calls me “the beauty queen” and perfect strangers think I’m ten years younger than I really am. I told Dr. S that it’s because of him that the po is going to be a lot easier for me to do. Whether they realize it or not, Drs. S and D are in the business of saving lives.”

“It’s amazing how much more real my breasts look now that I have tattoos. Don, the tattoo artist, said that a lot of women who had no qualms about showing their reconstructed breasts to others all of a sudden become so much more modest when they get the tattoos. At the moment, mine look very bright, almost iridescent. But everyone has assured me that they will fade and look very natural before long. Another unique fact about Drs. S and D’s practice is that they employ an authentic tattoo artist (whose wife is an RN), rather than a medical professional. Before he came to the practice, they were dissatisfied with the customary “stamped-on” look of medical tattoos. Don uses a palette of different colors and replicates the various anatomical features of the nipple. He starts with the darker colors on the nipple and gradually blends them with lighter colors on the perimeter of the aureola. Because I had my flap surgery just 5 1/2 months ago, it didn’t hurt at all. But I did feel a remote buzzing sensation. Don said that those who wait a long time (a year or more) will experience a lot more pain. He does not use a local anesthetic for two reasons. One, the skin won’t hold the color as well. Two, it doesn’t dull the pain anyway because the tattooing occurs on the skin and not subcutaneously. Yes I’m happy with my tattoos and the revisions that Dr. Sullivan did yesterday. Because I didn’t have skin-sparing, the natural contour of the breast is harder to achieve. Before yesterday, my breasts were a bit flat and wide (only perceptible to me). Dr. Sullivan did more suction on the sides of my breast (under my arms) to narrow them a bit, and he deposited more fat to the front of my breasts to make them project more. Also, before yesterday, my left nipple was ?” lower than the right. Without skin-sparing, positioning the nipple is harder to do. He fixed that, too. NOLA stands for New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Scott Sullivan is in a practice with Dr. Frank Dellacroce called The Center for Restoration at a hospital called Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans. These doctors perform perforator flap breast reconstruction, transferring skin and fat (but sparing the muscle) from either the abdomen (DIEP flap) or the buttocks (GAP flap). They have an international reputation because of the high success rate (better than 99%) and speed (about 5 hours for the bilateral DIEP and about 8 hours for the bilateral GAP + 2 hours for bilateral mastectomy, which is performed by a breast surgeon) at which they perform these procedures. Also, they are the only one’s in the world who are doing simultaneous bilateral GAP reconstruction. Other perforator flap surgeons will do the bilateral GAP reconstruction in two surgeries at least one week apart. For more information on these doctors and these procedures, go to Once you contact their office (by phone or email), they will take your insurance information and arrange for you to have a phone consultation with one of the surgeons.”

“If I could have my vote for “Person of the Year,” it would definitely be you! To say I feel like a new woman doesn’t begin to express the difference you and your staff and associates have made. After 11 years of uncomfortable prostheses and an adult lifetime of an oversized, droopy bustline, I now have a proportionate figure I can be proud of and feel comfortable in. My husband and I just returned from our rest and recuperation time in Mexico. What a joy to be able to look and feel good in a normal bathing suit. What fun to be able to shop for pretty underwear! Best of all, what a relief to feel balanced in my body; the strain I had been experiencing daily in my back and neck is completely gone! I can tell that you are a doctor for all the right reasons and that you really care about the welfare of your patients in every aspect of the traumatic after-effects of breast cancer. Right from the start, with the very first phone call, you made me feel like a special person, instead of just another body in a hospital gown. You have a wonderful staff, too, and I hope you will pass on my thanks to each of them.” – JR

“I’d like to thank all of you for everything. Your kindness and compassion, your patience and understanding. You truly have a wonderful gift from God. Your skills surpass my imagination. Thank you for doing what you do. If there is ever anything I can do to make other women aware of what options they have please give me a call.” – JAL

“I went to the local garment shop, Bertha Church, and mentioned that I was going to have reconstruction after mastectomy. Two of the clerks stood silently and I could tell that they weren’t about to say whatever it was they were thinking. So, me being me, I asked them what they were thinking. Both of them said that they wouldn’t have reconstruction. When I asked why not, they said because the reconstructed breasts they’ve seen, and they’ve see quite a few, don’t really look very good. As soon as I got home from New Orleans, I went to Bertha Church to be fitted for and buy new, attractive underwear. The shop owner couldn’t believe how good my reconstructed breast and the entire job, looked. Of course she asked me who had done this and where I had it done. As you can imagine, I extolled you. I asked her what was so different about mine and others she had seen. She said the cleavage and the fullness of the breast against the top of the chest looked so good, that she’d never seen it look so real!”

“I am most grateful for all that you have done for me. From the first meeting you assured me that I would be pleased with the end result and you were so right! I was so very frightened in the beginning – mainly because I was dealing with what to me was the unknown. But your kindness, compassion and expert medical care guided me through a difficult time and I am fortunate to have you as part of my medical team. My sincere thanks.” – PA

“Your sincerity I will always treasure, your generosity goes beyond measure. Not only did you treat my body, but you also comforted my heart and soul. It’s your dedication and passion that makes you unique.” – CS

“No doubt, God knew what He was doing when he lead me to you. We are so pleased with your “work” and your staff – those ladies are the best!” – K&WL

“Thank you so much for everything you did for my family and I during my recent surgery in New Orleans. We always have a great time in the Big Easy! Your staff is kind and patient and we appreciated all the help they gave us. I can’t express how happy I am with my breast surgery results. I look and feel wonderful! The recuperation time was so minimal! Over and over I receive so many compliments. I truly feel beautiful for the first time since I have been diagnosed with breast cancer and I have you to thank for it. You’re the best.” – KM

“I can’t thank you enough for what you did for me so far and how comfortable you made my stay. You are the smartest, most personable doctors out there and there is no doubt about it. Thank you so much for helping me through all of this and putting up with me with such grace and patience all the way through. I would be glad to speak to anyone about how wonderful your work is and what a great doctor you are. I have complete confidence that the end result will be fantastic and believe this is the best approach for breast cancer. My hope is that every woman out there in this situation has the opportunity to meet you and understand and consider your work. It is a lot less complicated and painful than it sounds and you and your team make it easy. If someone could tell me exactly what I could tell them right now, I would have saved months of stress. I feel like I came out with the same breasts I went in with. You made this so less traumatic than it could have been for me and if I understood it better and could have had someone explain how you feel post op, not that you all didn’t, but you need to hear it from someone that has experienced it, it would have helped even more with me making a quicker, more confident decision. Additionally, being able to choose the type of mastectomy scar and be involved in discussing the procedure gave me some options and control and I felt I was really involved. You and your team listened to every word I said. (My little brother wants me to go on Oprah – ha ha ha ha) Scott, everyone in this situation really needs to know about you. But it was hard to get the information. It should be out there and all the doctors should be able to give all their patients all of the options and explain the choices. Not just the ones “they” do. The information is all over the place and hard to get and when you are going through something like this – you know – you can’t even see straight!!! I do feel I made a really intelligent decision and that feels good.” – MaC

“Hi! Please forgive me for not writing sooner. Even so, I think of you often. I think about how grateful I am for having had my surgical procedure by you. I received the best care while in New Orleans and I am convinced that I had my breast reconstruction completed by two of the most gifted doctors. I appreciate, very much all that I experienced with you and everything surrounding my surgery. I got married, we moved into our new home on Jan 2nd and we’re now trying to have a baby! Thank you so much. God Bless You.” – KMW

“Thank You is an insufficient phrase to express my gratitude for who you both are in my life. Sharing this experience with others sheds light on your magnificence even more. Your vision, and its manifestation nurtures in a way medicine becomes healing… your care and attention… to any and all aspects of the human being – fulfills a higher purpose and definition of wellness. Each one of you, Scott, Laura, and Frank, brings a unique dimension to the whole. My family and I feel blessed and grateful. God Bless You and your path.” – B

“My twin sister and I want to take this opportunity to tell you how pleased we are with the outcomes of the surgery you performed on us. You and your staff worked magic, taking a victim of 4th stage breast cancer and making her whole again. We wanted to let you know that Sloan-Kettering in New York (the #1 cancer treatment facility in the world) has moved you to their #1 referral position due to the remarkable outcome you have accomplished. We are headliners in Sloan’s Reconstruction Photo Text Manual. We sincerely hope that more women will find their way to your remarkable care and have as much success as we have had. If we can be of assistance in any way please feel free to contact us.” – JR and JK, R.N.

“To: Memorial Medical Center Chief Executive Officer. Unfortunately, my wife, recently had a bilateral mastectomy, which as you can well imagine can be a very traumatic, frightening and overwhelming experience…Therefore, despite having access to New York’s “world renown” hospitals, we flew to New Orleans in November for an initial consultation with Dr. Scott Sullivan. From the moment we met with Dr. Sullivan, we were certain that we had come to the right place and we knew that we were in the right hands. In fact, neither my wife nor I have ever known a more caring and compassionate doctor. Dr. Sullivan’s genuine concern and his willingness to do everything possible to insure that my wife received comprehensive care were remarkable. Once we met Dr. Sullivan, our decision to come to New Orleans (which is over one thousand miles away from family and friends) was an easy one. My wife’s surgery was performed on January 29, 2003, and her stay at Memorial Medical Center further reinforced our initial impressions. Dr. Sullivan made the entire process so much easier to handle. In this age of managed care where doctors have become “health care providers” and patients are “consumers,” Dr. Sullivan is a reminder of how medicine should be practiced. He is model to others and an example of how doctors can truly be healers. Personally, I am so impressed that I have included a discussion of his approach in my lectures to our medical students here in New Jersey.” – KF, PhD

“Recovery is going very well only two and a half weeks after surgery. Looking back over the past two months I cannot believe the whole process has moved along so quickly and so well. The difficulties with facing mastectomy, deciding on a reconstructive procedure, selecting a surgeon, and pulling it all together in a narrow window of time were enormous. Having to make these decisions with little knowledge to draw on was a drain physically and emotionally. It is such a relief and pleasure to reflect now knowing how right the decision was for me to come to New Orleans and your practice.”

“I spent considerable time discussing breast reconstruction options with surgeons in the broader central Florida area but nothing compared with that of your team. Your website was very impressive, professional as well as informative. My initial conversation with Michele, which was well over an hour, gave me more information and confidence in moving forward the I’d found elsewhere. I have nothing but praise for the entire office, medical and nursing staff. Everyone has been very competent, personable and caring. It is obvious that the best interest of the patient is foremost.”

“Arrangements for me to come to Memorial Medical Center were made with ease from your office. Contacts for other hospital arrangements were provided and everything on that end was handled with the same ease and optimum in customer service. By the time I arrived there I had already established good relationships with everyone I would need to work with. It was certainly done as well, if not better, than most in-person encounters.”

“The diep flap surgical procedure is phenomenal. I am so impressed with the process and results. Facing cancer and the prospect of an altered body can be devastating. You not only provide the skill to heal but in the process change lives as well. It’s wonderful to know that women have choices. I only wish that more women had the opportunity to know that this is one of them.”

“Phase II of my reconstruction is already scheduled for the end of September. I look forward to seeing the results of that process. Actually I’m looking forward to having this all behind me but marvel at each step along the way.”

“I know that mother’s biweekly visits to your office are about to come to an end, and I want to take this opportunity to thank you. If it hadn’t been for you, I don’t think my mom would have undergone reconstructive surgery, and therefore, would not have the mental perspective and contentment that she has now. The time you took explaining the procedure and helping her to make the decision that was right for her meant a great deal to me. So many times, the public only hears the negative stories about the medical profession. But you are an asset to your profession, restoring hope to those who are in need of it and giving a sense of normalcy to those who would otherwise be left with a void. I thank God for the talent, ability, and determination that allowed you to learn your profession and to perform it with such compassion and good nature. You will forever be in our memories, thoughts and prayers. Thank you so very much.” – HH, daughter of JH

“I want you to know how special I think you all are. From the first time I met any of you I knew I was in excellent, and very compassionate hands. You treated me with warmth, gentleness and respect. It would be easy for you to lose those qualities and your time constraints and so many responsibilities. It is hard for me to comprehend how gifted you are with the delicate procedures you perform to bring us back to a more normal life after the devastation of having cancer. Your patience with my questions and those of my entourage each visit made this time in our lives so much easier to bear. God has given each of you a special healing gift. I pray for each of you each night that you will retain these gifts for many, many years and teach others also. Also, your pleasant, positive attitudes have made a big difference to me in my journey through this battle. Again, thank you from the bottom of my family’s hearts and mine.” – JH

“I am at a loss for words to express my appreciation for your beautiful reconstruction of my breast and tummy tuck. I feel good about my body image again. Leroy is really pleased with the results. My family doctor said that he didn’t think I should have had such an involved procedure at my age – but when he saw the results he was impressed. I will be happy to recommend your services or talk to anyone contemplating this surgery.” – EB

“January 20, 2003, my husband and I heard the dreaded news that I had breast cancer. We immediately began researching our options for the best care and the best reconstruction we could find. I saw two reconstructive surgeons in my area and was only offered the ‘tram flap’ using both my stomach muscles. This just did no seem “right” for me. I emailed you all and received a phone call from you in a couple of days and from there, things began to fall into place.”

“When I made an appointment for consultation with Dr. DellaCroce, my husband and I came over (from Alabama) and were very much impressed with what we were told. We decided immediately to go ahead with the surgery. Your staff made everything so easy, no hassle, and the treatment we received made us feel like old friends instead of just another patient. We were so relieved and impressed. During my hospital stay and follow-up visit we were always treated as friends. Being from out of town this meant a great deal to us. Thanks to Dr. Sullivan for filling in and dismissing me from the hospital. I think Alabama doctors could use a good lesson in Louisiana hospitality.” – FW

“I would recommend anyone to you and your associates based on the expert care and results I received.”

“Thanks again and look forward to seeing you again in a couple of months for Stage 2 of the surgery.”

“Fairy tales do come true. My faith in you both has given me the confidence and courage I needed. I have the highest level of respect for the team. You are all the best.” – KL

“I would greatly appreciate some business cards for both Drs. Sullivan and DellaCroce, as my general surgeon thinks the GAP flap surgery is wonderful. He performs many mastectomies and no one in the Northwest does this procedure.” – MB

“Thank you for your help during my recent surgeries. You have made it incredibly easy for my husband and I to feel comfortable with our stay in New Orleans. You and your staff are unbelievable! I feel wonderful and am so happy, I have been asked for pictures of my breasts and abdomen for a website for high risk women. Even though I can’t advise a woman on whether surgery is right for her, I can tell everyone that Dr. Sullivan in New Orleans is the right place be. Your the Best!” – KM

“Thank you for offering the gift of hope. When we are done the whole world will know about the two of you. All my love.” – CK

“Words cannot express my gratitude for all your efforts with my surgery. I am please and the results are amazing. This surgery was truly meant for me. Every piece of clothing fits much better. Let me offer you a token of my appreciation, a picture for the office?” – DL

“Wow! The results are amazing. I can fit into my long lost jeans – you are truly talented. Thank you for taking the time and effort in doing such a nice job. If I can be of any help in the office, please call.”

“Dr. Sullivan and Celeste are great. They made it all worth it.”

“Your care navigator made me feel at ease. I really like it when she came to my hospital room to introduce herself – nice touch and nice to put a face to a voice.”

“Contact with your practice by internet was extraordinary.”

“I have no suggestions to improve your practice, there is complete satisfaction.”

“You return calls so promptly it’s unbelievable.”

“I love you guys!” – MF

“In the past 6 years since I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I have never had such courteous, helpful and informative care.”

“Your care navigator was fantastic to talk to – very caring and informative.”

“I will highly recommend your practice.”

“The finest care I’ve ever received. Thank you.”

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