When caught early enough, breast cancer can be very treatable for women in San Diego. And while breast reconstruction continues to be an option for cases that are caught later on, ideally, every case would be treated early enough to limit the need for a mastectomy in the first place.
However, finding cancer in breast tissue is challenging. The best way to find abnormalities is by viewing high-resolution, three-dimensional images known as computed tomography scans, or CT scans. Yet, CT scans deliver far too much radiation to the sensitive breast tissue, an area of the body that remains very susceptible to the radiation levels in X-rays. The mammograms that are used instead are safer for breast tissue, but the scans are not as detailed. It’s a Catch-22 in many ways, but hope may be on the horizon.
A research team is now suggesting that a different type of X-ray, combined with a new approach to image analysis, may be more effective than mammograms, while still only delivering 4 percent of the radiation dosage seen in typical CT scans. This will allow earlier diagnosis, and more effective early treatments. If enough compact X-ray sources can be produced to make this technology widely available, plastic surgeons in the San Diego area will likely see a huge reduction in breast reconstruction needed after mastectomies or lumpectomies.
Changes in Surgery
Reducing the rates of breast cancer simply by adapting new technology would be an amazing breakthrough in the medical profession. For a number of women, breast implant surgery will no longer be necessary to reconstruct the profile following a mastectomy. Instead, non-surgical treatment options like radiation or chemotherapy can be utilized to kill the cancer while it’s small. The potential for improvement in quality of life for these women is incredibly hopeful and exciting.
Dr. Alexander received his Medical Degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, one of the country’s first medical schools, and then had five years of intensive general surgery training at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, serving as chief resident in 1993-1994. There he was one of two residents honored “Outstanding Teacher” by the Whitehead Society.
After becoming Board Certified in General Surgery, Dr. Alexander attended the University of California San Francisco, one of the premiere Plastic Surgery programs in the United States. There he completed two additional years of residency training in Plastic Surgery. Dr. Alexander is double board certified in Surgery and Plastic Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Alexander specializes in facial rejuvenation, and was the first surgeon in California to perform the QuickLift,™ a revolutionary surgical procedure that takes years off the face with less downtime than traditional facelifts. He is a specialist in chemical peels and laser surgery and was selected to author the chapter “Facial Resurfacing” in Plastic Surgery, the premiere textbook of the specialty. He also specializes in facial cancer reconstruction and endoscopic, minimally-invasive procedures, publishing his own original research about endoscopic plastic surgery. He lectures in medical forums and has presented his results at both national and international surgical meetings.