Monday, 26 April 2010

The melon spoon myth

I have to hold my hands up in the air and admit to perpetuating the Melon Spoon Myth. Before my mastectomy and reconstruction, I had tried to make sense of the oncoplastic jargon in my breast surgery handbook but to no avail. Because I knew the tissue in my breast had been removed via my areola (TMI? Leave now),  I invented my own theory: they must have scooped it out using a melon spoon. Once again, my surgeon has put me straight. 

Apparently the skin is so amazingly stretchy that, yes, in my case they cut out the areola, but then they make flaps in the skin (think peeling an orange with a nice sharp knife) and peel it back to make a sizeable hole so they can easily cut the tissue away from the breast wall.  I had what’s known in the trade as an extended LD flap reconstruction. Apparently LD stands for the latissimus dorsi (back) muscle that's used to replace the old breast tissue. Flap is the key word here though: I know because my surgeon drew me a picture on a paper towel. 
I didn’t want any silicon or foreign objects to form my new breast, which is why I opted for using my own raw materials. During my surgery, they cut into my back and wrestled out my latissimus dorsi, swung it under my armpit using the blood vessels as a pivot and – ta da! – my new breast was born. It might have been a bit more complicated than that. But at least they didn’t scoop up the back muscle with the melon spoon and squish it back through the tiny hole of an areola, as I had imagined they did. Phew.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kelly!

    Kate here, not anonymous. (I couldn't figure out another way to post without a URL.) I've kept checking in every now and again ... glad to see you back in writing form!

    Been thinking lots about you and sending my love. Hope you got it.


    P.S. We leave for Prague on Aug 18. Barring unforeseen volcanoes, etc.