Mount Pleasant, South Carolina – Plastic surgeons at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction devote their practice and careers to correcting breast absence after mastectomy for breast cancer by transplanting natural tissues from one region of the body to another. Physicians Dr. James E. Craigie and Dr. Richard M. Kline Jr., and co-surgeon Dr. Robert J. Allen recently used their advanced microsurgery skills to allow an identical twin to donate natural tissue to a South Carolina woman so she could have her breasts reconstructed from natural tissue.
On Feb. 23, 2021, sisters Judy Wolf and Janet Black underwent simultaneous surgery at East Cooper Medical Center in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, to allow Judy to regain breast shape and fullness without the use of implants. Judy had little excess body fat and abdominal tissue that could be used for reconstruction because of previous surgeries in this region of the body. Before surgery, the twins underwent testing to determine that they were in fact monozygotic (identical) twins and required no preoperative immunosuppressive therapy.
There are only a few documented cases of successful breast reconstruction surgeries using donated tissue from an identical twin. The surgical team of Dr. Allen and Dr. Craigie previously garnered national attention when they performed the first bilateral twin to twin DIEP breast reconstruction surgery in October of 2006. Twins Naomi Whinnie and Nina Hildebrand traveled from Pennsylvania to South Carolina in order to have this team of experts perform their surgeries.
“Both Judy and Janet were of slender build. After much thought, we recommended using tissue from the love handle areas from the donor twin to reconstruct her sister’s breasts. This was preceded by a Delay procedure to increase the blood supply and volume of tissue that could be transferred. Five days later the skin and fat were transferred microsurgically from one sister to the other (Delayed DCIP/DIEP flaps),” Dr. Craigie explained.
Utilizing two operating rooms, three microsurgeons, and multiple clinical and support staff at East Cooper Medical Center, the surgery was successfully completed in seven hours. Janet, the donor twin, was discharged from the hospital the following day. Her sister, Judy, was discharged three days after the procedure with warm, soft, natural breasts thanks to her identical twin.
For more information about this procedure or guidance for determining whether you could use your own tissue for natural breast reconstruction, contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina through our website, naturalbreastreconstruction.com.
James E. Craigie, M.D. and Richard M. Kline Jr., M.D. established The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction in 2002. Robert J. Allen, M.D. is a founder of The Center for Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction and the Group for the Advancement of Breast Reconstruction and is the pioneer of the muscle sparing DIEP/SIEA/S-GAP/I-GAP perforator flaps.
* Rare twin-to-twin breast reconstruction surgery uses abdomen and love handle area (DCIP/DIEP) from donor twin
*New “Delay” procedure used to increase success of transplant