The 'Angelina effect'

For those, both women and men, who have not read Angelina Jolie's article in the New York Times about her bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, I would highly recommend it. Here is another chance - the article.

I was moved for several reasons. Firstly, it is heartening to see how a person can develope from a spoilt and troubled celebrity teenager to an inspiring example for women all over the world. Starting with her charity work and now sending a message to all women touched by breast cancer - you are not alone and you are still beautiful.

Secondly, the article takes a difficult subject like hereditary or familial breast cancer and makes it easier to understand. It educates patients who have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer to explore the option of gene testing. This option is entirely available in the NHS but it is important for patients to be mindful of not over reacting and to take the advice ofthe genetic counselling team.

It is also important for patients who have been confirmed would benefit from prophylactic surgery to weigh carefully the pros and cons of surgery. All surgeries carry with it a degree of risks. The more complex the surgery, the greater the risks.

Breast implant reconstruction is an excellent reconstruction especially afer a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy but is is not the only option. The other main type of reconstruction involves using your own tissue rather than an implant. The commonest donor sites are the lower tummy and the back. Depending on your body type, the other options may confer some advantages. 

I do not think there is one best option. Ideally it should be personalised to each individual depending on their general health, their physique and their desires. It should not be limited by what the surgeon can do. Speak to a few surgeons before deciding.

However I do think that we now live at a time where reconstruction should be seriously considered by all women who have a mastectomy if they are eligible. in the right hands, it is safe, effective and of extreme psychological benefit. Read about some of these women.

And the final reason I was moved is the fact that the partner, who just happens to be Brad Pitt in this case, is mentioned. i have seen what a difference it makes to the patient when there is a supportive partner and vise versa, how damaging to the patient when the partner distance themselves and in extreme cases leave altogether.

Click here for more information on breast reconstruction.


Mrs  CC Kat is a leading Midlands Consultant Plastic Surgeon specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. She is a full member of both British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and British Association of Aesthetic , Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (BAPRAS) as well as several international aesthetic surgery associations. She worked as a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust but now runs her private practice, CC Kat Aesthetics �� Birmingham Laser, Skin and Cosmetic Clinic, full time. For more information, visit or call 0121 456 7930.

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