NEW HYDE PARK, Long Island - A new medical device is allowing breast cancer patients to take an active role in the reconstruction procedure.
"Whoever created this, I love you," said Rhonda Bayrami, breast cancer patient.
53-year-old Bayrami welcomes any good news after breast cancer, and a bilateral mastectomy.
"We thought we were at stage zero until they opened me up and it was stage three," Bayrami said.
A new device called AeroForm by AirXpanders is a new way for patients to assist in their own breast reconstruction.
It is unlike the traditional way that involves weekly visits to a doctor for this type of needle injection to stretch the skin.
Dr. Neil Tanna is Bayrami's plastic surgeon who says patients deserve something needle free, pain free and certainly more convenient after a mastectomy.
"And we're now in 2017, it really is pushing the use of technology to better the way we deliver breast reconstruction and the patient experience," said Dr. Tanna, of Northwell Health.
"I can pop 10 cc's in myself, right now," Bayrami said.
In fact, Bayrami demonstrated right at the news conference how easy it is, even wearing clothing, you just push the remote controlled device which inflates a tissue expander with CO2 instead.
"And so you're able to spread out what was traditionally done with the saline expansion, more gradually," Dr. Tanna said.
Dr. Tanna also says the benefits of this type of reconstruction are especially good for patients undergoing chemotherapy. It helps patients like Bayrami, whose chemotherapy starts on Monday.
"I don't have to worry about sticking a needle in a patient whose immune system is temporarily suppressed," Dr. Tanna said.
He says the CO2 has been approved by the FDA as safe.
As for Bayrami, she's a somewhat reluctant trailblazer.
"I was scared, I was nervous, I didn't want to be the first one, I wanted maybe to be the 10th one," Bayrami said.
But she says she hates needles and loves feeling more in control of her own recovery.