Behind Every Angelina Jolie There Is A Surgeon Like Dr. Michael Rose

The Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction in Shrewsbury, NJ Provides Expertise and Compassionate Care

A small but growing society of women and those who love them have firsthand experience with the decision and outcome revealed today by actress Angelina Jolie. In a lengthy and revelatory editorial in the New York Times* she tells the story of her family history (her mother died of breast cancer) and her own subsequent discovery that she carries the ‘faulty’ BRCA1 gene, predisposing her to an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer.
Ms. Jolie said she told the story of her decision to undergo a double mastectomy in order to help other women. What is remarkable is her positive attitude, and her desire to speak to the many women “who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer.”

Ms. Jolie is particularly positive about her final surgery, which was breast reconstruction with implants. As a caring and experienced doctor, this is an area of expertise for Dr. Michael Rose of The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction at The Plastic Surgery Center in New Jersey. He has performed hundreds of breast reconstruction procedures, from the types using the patient’s own tissues (autologous), to using implants, such as in Angelina Jolie’s case. In addition, he has been a board member of The Cancer Support Community of the Northern Jersey Shore since 2008.

Here is Dr. Rose’s analysis:

“Angelina Jolie’s stunning announcement today that she had a double mastectomy with reconstruction as a measure to prevent an almost certain chance for future breast cancer deserves some discussion. While all women should be vigilant and do monthly self exams, yearly doctor visits and annual mammograms, very few women require the expensive gene test that Ms. Jolie got. That is because familial breast cancer accounts for less than 5% of all breast cancers. If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, earlier screenings (age 35 instead of 40) and possibly a gene test would then be appropriate. Ms. Jolie is certainly known for her curvaceous figure and public life, and as it is for any woman, her decision must have been very difficult for her. However, as she has discovered, an appropriate and well-executed breast reconstruction procedure can restore a sense of wholeness even after the loss of both breasts. In many cases, the results can be equal or even better than what the woman originally had. Hopefully, Ms. Jolie’s excellent experience with breast reconstruction will show women everywhere that a mastectomy is not necessarily the end of being able to feel like a woman.”

“I perform all types of breast reconstruction, including the type performed on Ms. Jolie. Each case must be individualized based upon the particular woman’s needs and desires. I work closely with the patient’s breast surgeon and oncologists to ensure an optimal chance for a cure, as well as a beautiful esthetic result.”

The role of a good surgeon also includes the emotional component. Explains Dr. Rose, “I provide support throughout the process, and help project the patient’s psyche into the future. There is always a period during the process in which she feels not whole. But without exception, with a properly constructed breast, every patient is thrilled with the end result and feels that everything she went through was worth it to preserve her wholeness as well as her wellness.”

Anyone who has ever been treated by Dr. Rose has experienced not only his skill, but the type of care and compassion that leads women like Angelina Jolie to negotiate this life-altering experience and decision-making with the utmost of confidence.

With an expert surgeon and medical care, coupled with sensitivity and compassion, other women may come to feel as Ms. Jolie does when she concludes in her editorial, “Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”

*My Medical Choice, NY Times, May 14, 2013

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