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Patient Testimonial: Bilateral DIEP Flaps

I cannot say enough wonderful things about Dr. Christina Ahn!!! When I first received my diagnosis of early stage breast cancer approximately a year and a half ago I was very fortunate to have some close friends and colleagues at work who guided me through the storm of emotions and decision making. I made my decision immediately to have a double mastectomy based on my personal (not family) history of biopsies noting increasing numbers of microcalcifications and atypical lobular hyperplasia. That was the easy decision for me. What was more daunting was the next decision. To have reconstruction and then what kind. I decided to have the reconstruction done at the same time as the mastectomy and needed to find the best doctor to do that who was at NYU where my breast surgeon was. My dear friend at work had recommended Dr. Ahn with all her heart. She said she would be with me every step of the way, not only with her excellent surgery skills but as a warm, caring, accessible guide through this process. I also recall having participated with her at the Komen Race for the Cure where Dr. Ahn was honored for her exceptional skills and caring for her patients. Once I met her and experienced her dedication, enthusiasm, encouragement, and positive attitude, I was sold. She spent 2 ½ hours with me and my husband examining me, explaining the process, and giving me options, and answering my myriad of questions. She also arranged to see me within only days of my call and in those early days after the diagnosis, being able to contact your doctor rapidly and starting the proactive road to decision making is priceless. Dr. Ahn explained the difference between breast implants and using my own body fat in a microsurgical procedure. She would coordinate with my surgeon to retain my breast skin and then remove some excess abdominal fat and attach it to my chest wall to create natural looking and feeling breasts. The actual procedure is a breakthrough in sparing muscle and speeding recovery as it just uses fat and is called DIEP perforator free-flap breast reconstruction. (I have also learned along the way that many reconstructive plastic surgeons are not familiar with this amazing procedure and therefore cannot offer it to their patients). While that sounded like more for my body to go through, initially, I believed I would be happier with the result and that is the procedure I chose after much consultation with my friends who had undergone both procedures and after a great deal of soul searching. Through all the pre-surgical procedures and tests Dr. Ahn and her office staff coordinated appointments and made things as easy as possible for me, including all the insurance contacts and arrangements. She also scheduled my surgery for as soon as possible which greatly relieved the anxiety and angst that waiting produces. The week I spent in the hospital is mostly a blur but what I do recall very clearly is that almost every time I opened my eyes Dr. Ahn was there. She not only examined me and provided constant medical care along with her excellent team of residents, but she did everything she could to make me comfortable and ease my recovery. She was thoughtful and encouraging and coordinated her team of doctors and nurses so well that everyone was always on the same page and provided excellent care to me. Questions were always answered, anxiety relieved, and there was never a time when I felt she was not available. This level of care continued well after the actual hospital stay and, in fact, to this day. Dr. Ahn continued to coordinate all aspects of my home care, was in touch constantly with visiting nurses and available to me via phone and email at all hours of the day and night. She takes great pride in her work and wants to give each patient the best possible result. I could not be happier with my decision to have Dr. Ahn as my doctor or with the DIEP flap procedure. My breasts have healed well, look and feel natural, and best of all, I feel healthy and whole. I am one of the lucky ladies who has been blessed by her touch. Thanks to Dr. Ahn and her incredible investment in her patients I have returned to my home and work life feeling strong and whole and positive and I wish the same for everyone who is facing this difficult life experience. I am so grateful to my friend for recommending I see Dr. Ahn…..she is a brilliant, wonderful surgeon and human being and I am most fortunate to have her in my life!