As a nurse in Los Gatos, Lisa Lal may wear a uniform during the day, but at night she loves to dress up. It's a guilty pleasure she can once again enjoy. Diagnosed with breast cancer, Lisa underwent a lumpectomy last year. Afterward, she turned to plastic surgeon Kamakshi Zeidler, M.D., to restore the shape of her breast.
But after considering several options, Lal decided on a procedure called an auto-augmentation breast lift that would enhance both breasts, without the use of traditional breast implants.
"I felt the implants was going to give me a very heavy look on top," says Lal. "I did not want the implants also because I had had breast cancer."
Rather than enlarge the breast, Zeidler says the procedure uses the patient's own tissue, taken from the bottom area of the breast to reshape it. She explained, "What we do is we take a wedge of this bottom tissue in the breast and it gets tucked underneath the gland and brought up the chest wall, therefore creating a nice fullness in the top portion of the breast."
The technique allows surgeons to preserve the blood supply to the section of tissue that's being moved up. Zeidler says recent advances in a mesh like component help keep the tissue in place, producing a longer lasting effect.
"We can put a belt of matrix to just sock that in and hold it there to the chest wall, as an internal girdle to hold the breast in place," she explains.
In Lal's case, doctors also used a fat transfer, taken from her own body, to fill in the area of her breast where the tumor was removed. She says the result has left her with an improved but natural look. And she once again feels comfortable wearing the kind of clothes she loves.
"From a dress to a blouse to a bathing suit, much better," says Lal. "It's fun to buy different clothes now."
Side effects from the procedure can be considered minimal. Insurance coverage can vary depending up on whether the reconstruction is the result of breast cancer surgery or purely cosmetic.
Written and produced by Tim Didion