Dr. Susan Downey | Pasadena
Weight Loss Surgery | Pasadena
Facelift | Eyelid Surgery | Pasadena
Breast Augmentation | Breast Reconstruction | Pasadena
Liposuction | Tummy Tuck | Pasadena
Botox | Restylane | Pasadena
Ear Pinning Surgery | Scar Revision | Pasadena
ON-Q System | Dr. Downey | Pasadena
Cosmetic Surgery | Pasadena
Dr. Susan Downey: 1301 Twentieth Street | Suite 470 | Santa Monica, CA | Tel: 310.401.2929
Female Plastic Surgeon | Pasadena

Seriscaffold Use in Breast Reconstruction

May 20th, 2011

I am excited to announce my participation in an IRB approved  study using Seriscaffold for breast reconstruction.  Seriscaffold is a FDA approved silk based product which is used to provide soft tissue support and repair during the reconstruction after a mastectomy.  For patients who are undergoing breast reconstruction with a tissue expander  Seriscaffold is used to support the lower pole of the breast and to help maintain the position of the pectoralis muscle.

Plastic surgery in Peru

May 20th, 2011

I recently returned from a medical mission in Qoya Peru.    The organization sponsoring the mission was Women for World Health.  Qoya is in the Sacred Valley about 40 kms from Macchu Picchu.    We saw a mixture of patients with clefts lips to burn scars.    It was exciting to have my sister-in-law Ginger along on the mission .  Ginger is a fantastic recovery room nurse who has always wanted to go on missions but was busy raising their four sons.  At last she had a chance to go on a mission and hopefully we will be able to go on another one soon together.    As always we came home with a renewed sense of how lucky we are and how many opportunities we have .  It truly is a privilege to be able to give something back I always get back so much more than I give on a mission.

Numbers of Plastic Surgery procedures increases as Economy improves

February 10th, 2011

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons released their statistics for 2010 yesterday.  The overall number of cosmetic procedures increased 5 % in 2010.  This may represent some pent-up demand as patients return who had put off cosmetic work when the economy was so unstable.  Reconstructive procedures also increased 2% in 2010 with breast reconstruction up 8% !  This puts breast reconstruction into the top five reconstructive procedures for the first time .  The other top reconstructive procedures were (1) tumor removal (2)laceration repair (3)scar revision and (4) hand surgery.  Good news !  Hopefully this means that our work to get the word out to patients  undergoing mastectomies about their reconstructive options is working!

Rare Condition associated with Breast Implants

February 9th, 2011

A new national registry has been established by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the FDA to document reported cases of a rare condition  , Anaplastic Large Cell Lyphoma (ALCL) which is possibly associated with breast implants.  Thirty four cases of ALCL  in patients with breast implants have been reported in the world and that is in the 5-10 million women who have implants world wide.  Most of the patients presented with late onset seromas ( swelling) around their breast implants .  The condition appears to arise in the capsule surrounding the implants and is not breast cancer.  Currently the recommendation for women who are found to have this condition is to remove the capsule ( scar tissue) which surrounds the implant as well as the implant.  Safety is always of first concern and I  concur with the the American Society of Plastic Surgeons , the Aesthetic Society as well as both implant companies (Mentor and Allergan) in supporting efforts to research this rare condition .

My Christmas Present

December 17th, 2010

Dr Jorge Palacios just gave me the most wonderful Christmas present.  I was with Dr Palacios in Ecuador on a visiting educator trip where we were training young surgeons to do cleft lip and palate surgery.  One of the patients was a 45 year old woman with an unrepaired cleft lip.  Dr Palacios assigned her care to me.  in 45 minutes I was able to repair her lip-  a 45 minute operation for which she had waited 45 years !!  I am so grateful that I was able to do this for her.   She will be able to smile at her children and her husband for the first time .  To be given a chance to help another person like this is priceless.

Plastic surgery in Ecuador

December 17th, 2010

I just got back from spending ten days in Ecuador.  I was a visiting Educator with Resurge( formerly known as Interplast).   This was my fifth trip to Ecuador and my third as a visiting educator.  Most medical missions that I have been on   we are just trying to get as much surgery done as well and safely as we can in our limited time. A visiting educator trip is different -  on these trips we are trying to teach local doctors to improve their techniques and help improve through our training the outcomes of many surgeries after we leave.  It is exactly like the old adage -  give a man a fish and your feed him for a day,   teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime!    I always get so much more out of these trips than I give -  we are so lucky in this country with all that we have .   I am very gratefull that I have the opportunity to give back in even a small way.

Breast Reconstruction immediately after Mastectomy Linked to Increased Survival

November 4th, 2010

A very interesting study was presented recently at Plastic Surgery 2010 : Joint Annual Scientific Meeting of the  American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS)  and the Canadian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (CSAPS)meeting in Toronto Canada.  The  study looked at cases of breast cancer between 1998 and 2003 and analyzed  data in the US National Cancer Institute  Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry database.  The SEER analysis looked at more than 46,000 women who had undergone mastectomy alone and 8500 who had undergone a first stage of reconstruction at the time of their mastectomy. The analysis showed an amazing result that immediate breast reconstruction was associated with a 26% reduction in breast-cancer- specific mortality!  No one thinks that breast reconstruction is saving lives but the hypothesis is that patients who undergo immediate breast reconstruction  are usually in higher income brackets and are better educated.  This has been widely supported in the literature.  In addition patients with better access to good cancer centers are more likely to be referred to a reconstructive plastic surgeon by their breast surgeons than patients being treated outside a cancer center and they might be getting better overall care. This study certainly is interesting and more research needs to be done to sort out the reasons behind this increased survivial .  It certainly is interesting though!

Breast reconstruction in Los Angeles

September 24th, 2010

A recent survey  of  women with breast cancer found that 43% of the patients who were eligible for reconstruction did not receive information about their reconstructive options when making decisions at diagnosis.    This is an alarmingly low number!  Many patients are not aware that  a federal law signed into effect by President Bill Clinton mandates that breast reconstruction be covered by insurance companies.  this means that even if a women does not opt for reconstruction at the time of her mastectomy she has the option at any time later-  even years later.  This law also covers the opposite breast -  this means that the breast not involved with cancer can be reduced, lifted and even augmented to achieve symmetry between the two breasts.  God built women with two breasts and we need to get the word out that even if a woman suffers through cancer treatment she can again have the opportunity to have two breasts !

Form Stable Breast Implants

June 21st, 2010

Recently I went to Sweden to observe the practice of Dr Charles Randquist.  Dr Randquist has extensive experience with form stable breast  implants -  Mentor’s CPG implants and Allergans 410 implants -  which are not currently available in the USA except under study conditions.  These implants are shaped -  with a sloping upper pole .  We used to have shaped implants in the United States but the FDA did not include them in the approval process along with round implants so they were taken off the market in the States five years ago.    I am hopeful that soon we will have shaped implants as I think especially for the reconstruction patient they are a valuable tool.

Breast reconstruction - Immediate or delayed?

April 20th, 2010

When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer she is faced with a multitude of decisions -  lumpectomy or mastectomy, decisions about chemotherapy and radiation therapy - it can sometimes seem like too much to have to decide about breast reconstruction (implant reconstruction, flap reconstruction, silicone vs saline implants) at the same time.  Our goal as plastic surgeons is to try and make sure each patient has all the information she needs to make the best choice for her.  For some patients this might be to undergo the breast cancer treatment and not even worry about the reconstruction until later.  For others it might be to undergo breast  reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy.  Recent data suggests that 70% of breast cancer patients are not informed of the various reconstructive options available to them.  This is not acceptable.  We need to work harder to make sure that women are given all the information they need at the time of their cancer diagnosis so they can make the best , informed decsions for themselves.