A lot of plastic surgery is helping people feel good about themselves. Looking your best is not only about addressing issues from the outside in. A healthy body and lifestyle, a clear mind and good positive energy is vital to looking and feeling your best. Think about it, when you are sad or depressed or just not feeling well, when you look in the mirror your face appears more sunken in, the corners of your mouth turn down and even your skin seems dull and matted. However on days that you feel great, the expression on your face becomes more inviting, you can see a twinkle in your eyes and your overall demeanor becomes warm and approachable. I want my patients to be able to have access to experts that can help bring an overall aspect of wellness into their lives. I have developed a Road To Wellness as a means to help feel good in variety of different aspects of life including nutrition, exercise, mental health and well being. A team of practitioners each experts in their field have made themselves available to my patients, and I know they will provide a wonderful resource to those who are trying to stay healthy, to feel good and to look great. For more information, please take a look at ourRoad to Wellnessteam members.
I am dedicated to personalized care. Not only will I develop a custom treatment plan that includes all of the most modern surgical and nonsurgical techniques in plastic surgery but I will help develop a Road to Wellness that promotes a healthy lifestyle by teaming you up with experts in nutrition, training, mental health and well being.
A healthy body and lifestyle, a clear mind and good positive energy is vital to looking and feeling your best. To inspire yourself more, feel free to check out DoSomethingCool.com or PsychologyToday.com .
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. As it comes to an end, I thought it would be an important time to share how important awareness is, and how much just spreading information through education can go.
In a recent JAMA Surgery article from August 2014, the authors discovered that less than half of the women undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer have chosen to undergo breast reconstruction. The factors that were associated with not having breast reconstruction were lower educational level, older age or identifying as black race. Almost 30% of the patients surveyed have a fear of implant based reconstruction, even though silicone breast implants are among the most highly studied group of implantable devices that are used in all of medicine. In fact, 20% of those surveyed expressed a lack of knowledge of their reconstructive options. This has become extremely troubling to me if you juxtapose this apparent lack of information on the treatment of a cancer that affects 1 in 8 women, with the “age of information” that we live in today.
The consumption of information across all of the various forms of media (mobile and stationary) is controlled by the user; much of what we see is directed in front of us. Access to medicine and healthcare is a topic of controversy in today’s current forum, however access to information does not hold much controversy today. So, how can it be that so many women are not informed about their own choices when it comes to breast cancer? I think we, as a society and as medical professionals, have to do a better job keeping the focus of the news and on breakthroughs that make a difference in peoples lives, and not so much focus on who wore their dress best on the red carpet.
When it comes to options for breast reconstruction, there are 2 two basic categories:
1) Implant-based reconstruction: Using a silicone gel or saline implant with or without a tissue expander.
2) Autologous reconstruction: Using your own tissue to create your new breast. This includes pedicled musculocutaneous flaps from your abdomen or back and microvascular free flaps including the DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Flap) flap. Being able to perform Microsurgery allows me to utilize free flaps and perforator flaps as an option when creating the right plan. Perforator flaps, including the DIEP Flap, allow me to move skin and fatty tissue from your abdomen, thigh, buttock or back and leave your healthy muscle and fascia intact.
Breast reconstruction can be performed immediately after mastectomy or in a delayed fashion any time after mastectomy has been performed. After battling breast cancer, reconstruction provides many women a sense of being whole again; restoring hope and fullness to their daily life. Breast reconstruction is right for all breast cancer patients who fit the criteria to have it performed and who are generally healthy enough to undergo a prolonged operation. The details of what option is right for your can be discussed in a consultation.
“Chance favors only the mind that is prepared.”(Louis Pasteur, 1854). My father taught me the importance of this statement while we were discussing the options for a specific surgery. This exercise trained me to envision the possible outcomes of each decision I could make as a physician. Louis Pasteur’s quotation resonates in my mind because it has always been part of my own philosophy. The decisions we make as doctors, no matter how small, alter the environment in which we work. A surgeon should have multiple outcomes in mind prior to making an incision. Once an action is executed, a cascade of events may prevent the surgeon from encountering the expected anatomical landscape; adhesions remind you of another surgeon’s footprints and a bleeding vessel may alter the course of the present surgery. The ability to show foresight and assuredness allows the surgeon to gain a patient’s trust. There is no field in medicine where this idea of consequence is more apparent on both physical and emotional levels than in plastic surgery. There is also no other field that fills me with more passion and excitement.
Plastic and reconstructive surgery has always impressed me. The surgeon is able to redefine anatomy and physically alter the landscape of the human body using flap rotations and free tissue transfer while keeping aesthetic ideals in mind. The surgeon is not confined to a set procedure. With a profound knowledge of the human body and the healing process, a plastic surgeon is able to create a unique solution to a specific problem. The physical repair of a defect is accomplished while addressing the patient’s psychological anguish of disfigurement. Pasteur’s quotation is crystallized with plastic surgery. As a field it is distinguished from other surgical subspecialties by its meticulous plans and designs. Furthermore, there is consistent innovation when approaching surgical problems. Operations are filled with options, from primary closure, skin grafts and local flaps to regional, myocutaneous and free flaps. We have even more options looking toward the promise of tissue engineering. I have found that plastic surgery has the perfect balance of creativity and precision.
I grew up in Short Hills, New Jersey, and I am happy to be back home. My father, Rocco Tutela MD, was a plastic surgeon in the community for 30 years and I am glad to be able to carry on his legacy. I wanted to be a plastic surgeon before I even knew what it was. Like many boys at the age of five, I wanted to be just like my father. Watching him at work, I realized quickly how a kind word or a gentle touch could change a patient’s experience. Regardless of the situation, my father always put a smile on everyone’s face, patients and colleagues alike. As a busy community plastic surgeon he showed me the value of hard work, the importance of family and the benefit of loving your career.
I grew up in a traditional Italian-American household that was constantly filled with grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles who came over every week for Sunday dinner. Living in a large, close-knit family has exposed me to a myriad of emotions and taught me how to be flexible and open-minded during stressful situations. These invaluable lessons have allowed me to create solidarity with my patients.
Being part of a third generation of doctors, patient care has always been a part of my life. I dreamed of the day when I could stand next to my father both in the operating room and in character. Part of that dream can never be fulfilled. My father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August 2008 and died in December of the same year. As much as this has devastated me, my experience has strengthened my resolve and determination to embody the values I know well: loyalty, compassion and enthusiasm for life.
Despite my father’s early death, I feel blessed that I had the privilege to know him so well. What he showed me is that Family and Friends are the 2 most important things in life. Growing up Italian in Northern New Jersey, my large family has always been my best friends, and my friends have always found themselves to be part of my family. My patients have now become part of the Tutela Plastic Surgery Family.