Spending time with her grandson, Blake, is what keeps 60-something-year-old Joan Raffensburger young.
Joan says, "I don't feel my age, and I think it's because of them. I may look it, but I don't feel it."
Joan has been through a lot in the last nine years. She's survived breast cancer -- twice.
"Five years and then it appeared in the other breast," says Joan.
It meant two mastectomies and two breast reconstructions. The first reconstruction was done from her abdomen, but doctors can only do that once. For the second procedure, Joan didn't want an implant. So, Bernard Chang, M.D., a plastic surgeon at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, performed a different type of breast reconstruction. It's called S-GAP.
"It's a great alternative, and in the past there were many patients who had no other option," says Dr. Chang.
Doctors use tissue from the buttocks to rebuild the breast. Dr. Chang says, "It's a lot less invasive, and I think it gives us a lot more options for reconstruction."
For Joan, it meant getting back what cancer took away. "I feel perfectly normal. I forget I've had a double mastectomy," says Joan.
Dr. Chang says it's also an option for women who are too thin in the abdominal area or who have had liposuction.
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