Surprisingly seven out of 10 women don't know their breast reconstruction options after a mastectomy, according to a University of Michigan study.
Like so many in the same situation Michelle Hartog turned to her husband for input and emotional support. Dr. Hartog, an expert on breast reconstruction, provided Michelle with solutions on how to preserve womanhood and return to active lifestyles after surgery.
After surviving the threat of breast cancer, Dr. Hartog reconstructed Michelle's breasts through autologous fat transfer, a natural alternative to saline or silicone implants. AFT or fat grafting is virtually scarless, uses a woman’s own fat and to give women natural-looking and -feeling breasts. Upon using gentle liposuction to remove fat from areas such as the thighs or abdomen, it is then injected in very small amounts in the desired areas, allowing the body to quickly build and attach the blood vessel networks needed for the fat tissue to survive.
Michelle, who is committed to maintaining an active lifestyle, now competes on an all breast cancer survivors dragon boat team-Warriors On Water. In 2012, her team won its division at the annual Great White North (GWN) Dragon Boat Races and the team is participating in the 2014 International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission (IBCPC) Participatory Dragon Boat Festival taking place Oct. 24-26 at Nathan Benderson Park, where more than 100 teams, 3,000 breast cancer survivor dragon boat paddlers and supporters representing more than 10 countries will converge and compete.
With an increase in women undergoing mastectomies in recent years, many women are seeking stories that offer support, hope and meaningful insight. With fat grafting as an available option, women should know that they are not forced to choose between a life without breasts or one with artificial implants. Michelle and Dr. Hartog make a dynamic pair - advocating for both the cause and his scarless all natural solution in the industry and throughout their community.