New procedure for double mastectomy patients -


Donor tissue for breast cancer patients

Polly Irwin is a registered nurse at the Cleveland Clinic. Her mother died before the age of 45 from breast cancer. She knew she carried the same gene, so she recently had a double-mastectomy.

She chose reconstructive surgery, but not implants. She received tissue from a donor.

Polly never imagined after working at the Cleveland Clinic for several years that some of her coworkers would be performing the life-changing transplant.

"I've been pretty much guaranteed [about] 99 percent that I will not get breast cancer at this point in my life," said Irwin.

Dr. Risal Djohan is Polly's doctor and says this type of transplant is easier on the patient.

"It's better. The recovery - basically you supplement it without dissecting your own tissue," says Djohan.

And there is no need for anti-rejection medication.

Tissue donation for breast reconstruction has been around for nearly a decade.

But it's new for Polly, and it will be for her daughter, who will have the same procedure. She too carries the same cancer gene as her mother.

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