By Chris Pearson
Women facing the emotionally and physically challenging experience of breast reconstruction are in good hands, literally and figuratively, at Marshall Cosmetique Center in South Miami. Deirdre Marshall, M.D., and her talented team provide patients with expert reconstructive and cosmetic surgery services as well as compassionate medical care, making Marshall Cosmetique Center one of the top practices in the country.
“Few medical issues are more traumatic for a woman than undergoing a mastectomy,” explained Dr. Marshall. “First, she has been diagnosed with breast cancer — a frightening experience in and of itself. Then, she must endure the removal of one or both of her breasts. And after that, she goes through reconstructive and plastic surgery. The entire journey can take an emotional toll on the patient”
Dr. Marshall focuses a significant part of her time on reconstructive surgery, and, specifically, breast reconstruction, because she feels it is a critical and underserved area in medicine. When planning a breast reconstruction surgery, she considers a number of important factors, such as the patient’s body type, the type of mastectomy and post-operative cancer treatment needs. The target tissue removed during the mastectomy is replaced with tissue “borrowed” from the patient’s abdomen or back or with artificial implants or a combination of both. The reconstruction is performed in stages during multiple procedures and includes the formation of a natural-looking areola and nipple.
In the past, patients often waited months to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, adding to their worry and anxiety.
“We have a different way of doing things here,” explained Dr. Marshall. “Our patients have already prepared themselves emotionally and physically for a mastectomy. Once that procedure is completed, we begin with breast reconstruction as soon as possible. Our patients are feeling and looking great again much sooner than they would otherwise.”
Although the diagnosis of breast cancer is the primary reason for a mastectomy, some women choose to undergo a preventative mastectomy when the medical reasons are compelling, says Dr. Marshall. However, it is not a decision to be made lightly, she adds. As with every major surgical procedure, there are risks ranging from allergic reactions, anesthetic complications, wound healing problems, and others.
In 2013, the public learned that actress Angelina Jolie had undergone a preventative double mastectomy to decrease her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. She had learned that she had a gene mutation and the hereditary breast cancer gene BRCA1. According to pathologist and author Dr. Melissa Conrad Stoppler, Jolie was in a high-risk group for developing breast or ovarian cancer in the future. Jolie’s mother had died at the age of 56 of ovarian cancer. Stoppler wrote, “While about 12 percent of women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, that risk is multiplied fivefold in women with a BRCA mutation.”
“The salient factor here is that Angelina Jolie was aware of her predisposition to developing breast cancer and took action to avoid the development of cancer in the future,” Dr. Marshall explained. “The test for BRCA mutations is becoming increasingly accessible and affordable. Many woman should have the test done to determine whether they have the genetic predisposition.”
According to Dr. Marshall, most insurance companies will cover the expense of having a mastectomy and breast reconstruction due to breast cancer. “For those women who elect to have a preventative mastectomy and subsequent breast reconstruction, my office staff is experienced in working with insurance companies to make sure they are covered,” Dr. Marshall said. “Every patient’s case is different, but we do our best to ensure they are covered by insurance. And when they are not, we reduce or waive our fee and ask the hospital to do the same.
Few surgeons in the country have Dr. Marshall’s medical pedigree. She graduated from Yale University and completed her medical degree at Stanford Medical School in Palo Alto, California, where she completed an internship and residency in general surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery. Following surgical fellowships in Paris and Florida, she opened Marshall Cosmetique Center. Among the many accolades she has received include the Katherine M. McCormick Foundation Award for Women in Medicine and the Stanford University School of Medicine Research Honors Award.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Marshall’s medical skills have been well-known and appreciated here in South Florida as well as abroad, where she has donated thousands of hours to perform pro bono surgeries in Asia and Central and South America.
“I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family and career. and I really enjoy using my medical skills to help others who are less fortunate,” Dr. Marshall said.
Marshall Cosmetique Center is located at 6360 Sunset Drive in South Miami. For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Deirdre Marshall, call 305-663-5790 or visit www.marshallcosmetique.com.