When Renee Mallonee found out she was BRCA2 positive and her lifetime risk of breast cancer was high, she took this news very seriously. After 15 years of screenings and tests every 6 months, she turned to UT Southwestern for a prophylactic mastectomy. Her surgical oncologist, Deborah Farr, M.D., and plastic surgeon, Nicholas Haddock, M.D., presented her with the option of a robotic mastectomy, which offers smaller incisions and improved sensation, as compared to traditional mastectomy, and UT Southwestern was the first hospital in the United States to perform a single port robotic nipple-sparing mastectomy.
My name is Renee Melanie. I was 21 when I found out I was bracket to positive being bracket to positive. You have a lifetime risk of breast cancer at 55%. I spent the last 15 years screening for cancer. I would have mammograms and breast Mri's every six months basically forever. That led me to the decision to have a prophylactic mastectomy at Ut Southwestern Dr Farr and I actually clicked more than I have with any other doctor. She really just made me feel at ease. Renee has two small kids and she wanted to be very proactive. So she decided to look into prophylactic surgery which is removing the breast tissue before it has the opportunity to form a cancer. One of the benefits of UT Southwestern is the access to clinical trials and emerging technology DR Farr presented me with an option for a robotic mastectomy. The idea for the robotic nipple sparing mastectomy had been sort of a confluence of a lot of different things. When I started looking into other places in the world that had done this. There were some data that not only is there great cosmos is because the incision is smaller but also there is the chance for peace possible improved sensation just because there's less potential damage to the tissues that remain with the robotic incision, it's much smaller and it's a little bit more remote incision. But the game changer is if we can maintain sensation that's the number one negative of a mastectomy for many patients. We were the first in the country to do this procedure with this robot. The amount of preparation that we had done encompassed over two years. We created a clinical trial that was approved by our I. R. B. At UT Southwestern Ut Southwestern has funded all of this was also very supportive in sending myself and DR haddock to Italy so that we could train and figure out the best way to do this for our patients once we had everything ironed out and it was safe, we approached journey to be the first patient DR Farr wanted to make sure that I was comfortable with the idea of the robotic mastectomy and she suggested that I sit with that information for just a little bit and also meet with her counterpart Dr Hack. Ultimately what we're trying to do is reconstruct the breast in a way that the patient either feels like they've never lost their breast or even in some situations we can improve the shape when you present someone with an option that has never been done, you have to have the right person to say yes and move forward. And she was game on right away the morning of the surgery everything was set up so that we would have the best shot at giving her the best first procedure. The robotic mastectomy was just about under six hours DR Farr starts on the robotic aspect so she's working in the back on the robot and I'm actually scrubbed in at the field and helping her know the borders of the breast. We take the breast tissue off of the underlying pectoral muscle. And then doctor had it comes in and puts in a tissue expander into that space to start the reconstruction process. We can put in an implant immediately. So that's certainly one option with these robotic reconstructions. But if a patient wants any increase in size or potentially change in shape then what we places a tissue expander that expander we can make it larger. We can take solution out to make it smaller so that later he can come in and put in an implant. When I saw my breasts for the first time I was pumped. I mean they looked it was weird. They looked the exact same. I was so pleased with the results and I was like screaming and telling everybody to come come and check these out. You know After surgery they have no further breast tissue but they still have this high risk mutation. Her risk for breast cancer at this point is about 2-5%. The preliminary data that we have is that 88% of women have retained sensation which traditionally is not an option. I had my post op appointment with dr far. We just hugged each other the minute I saw her I just gave her a hug and she told me I said yeah you had goggle marks on your face. I remember seeing in the hospital that morning. She told me later that she had been like up practicing for hours. It brought a lot more human element to it. To know that your doctors care about this as much as you do. I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity that I was able to even have this surgery. I'm very happy with the outcome and I would recommend it for others. We're so grateful for her being the first patient and trusting us with this idea that has turned into something that we think is really beneficial to patients. I hope that she lives a long life with her Children, her family and she never has to worry about cancer again.