This weekend, they used the DaVinci robot to perform the first robotic nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) in the United States.
The patient, 45-year-old Elodie Trouche, tested positive for the potentially life-threatening BRCA gene in 2015 and searched for surgeons who would perform the mastectomy and reconstruction robotically. A nipple-sparing mastectomy is a procedure that preserves a woman's entire breast, including the existing, natural nipple and areola.
"I'm very honored and very proud to be the first one," she said. "I'm lucky to have a very tiny scar. It's between three and four centimeters just under my arm, so when I look at me, all I see is myself. I am not seeing someone who has been changed."
It was just six months ago that doctors used robots to remove Trouche's ovaries and Fallopian tubes. She was so happy with the results, she then sought out doctors ready to perform the robotic procedure on her breasts.
"I had tiny, tiny, tiny scars on my body, like it never happened," she said. "I had super fast recovery. I was up and running the same day."
And that's what ultimately brought her to LIJ, where doctors performed the surgery as part of an investigation study. And it seems the results left them just as happy as patient.
"The robot was what was instrumental in allowing us to do this, because it affords us the ability to visualize structures that we wouldn't be able see with the naked eye," Dr. Neil Tanna said.
Dr. Tanna and Dr. Alan Kadison teamed together to perform the surgery. Dr. Kadison removed affected breast tissue, and immediately after that, Dr. Tanna performed the implant reconstruction.
Conventional forms of a NSM usually involves some type of incision on the breast itself, meaning long scars directly on the breast. However, with the robotic procedure, the small incision is located off the breast. It also caused less scaring, pain and a quicker recovery.
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