Angelina Jolie's Breast Reconstruction Gets Long Island Plastic Surgeons Talking

Share Article

The team of breast surgeons at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery looks at the approach used in Angelina Jolie's recent breast reconstruction. The Long Island surgeons offer innovative techniques such as the DIEP flap and direct-to-implant reconstruction.

Angelina Jolie's New York Times piece detailing her decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy cast a spotlight on the phased approach she chose for breast reconstruction. The Long Island team of breast surgeons at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery ( says her path was one of several reconstruction options available to women today.

"Surgery isn't the right choice for all women facing an elevated risk of breast cancer," says New York plastic surgeon Dr. James Romanelli. "But for those women who opt to have surgery, it's important they understand the various reconstruction options they have."

The type of breast reconstruction procedure best suited for a specific individual depends in part on her age and body type, says Romanelli, a noted breast surgeon on Long Island who teams with Dr. Dana Khuthaila and Dr. Christine M. Blaine at his practice. The choices include an innovative reconstruction technique known as the DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforators) flap method, which uses a flap of tissue — complete with blood vessels, skin, and fat — from a woman’s lower abdomen as donor tissue. The procedure requires the skills of a microsurgery specialist such as Dr. Khuthaila and offers the advantages of a reconstructed breast that looks and feels natural, preservation of the abdominal muscles, and less recovery time than other options such as the TRAM flap method.

"As I've noted, not every woman is going to be a good candidate for the DIEP flap method, but knowing this relatively new option is available helps patients when talking with their physicians about breast reconstruction choices," Romanelli says.

The DIEP and TRAM flap methods are types of autologous flap surgery. An autologous flap procedure reconstructs breasts without artificial implants, instead using a combination of skin, fat, and muscle that is moved from areas such as your abdomen, upper back, upper hip, or buttocks to the chest, where it is shaped into a new breast.

A woman who chooses reconstruction with implants also has options. The surgical approach chosen by Ms. Jolie, says Romanelli, is explained in detail in this blog post ( Her staged breast reconstruction was begun at the time of her mastectomy, with the placement of tissue expanders. These were eventually replaced with breast implants. Dr. Romanelli offers a direct-to-implant option for some women, which allows the patient to skip tissue expanders and have her reconstruction completed at the time of mastectomy. In some cases, women delay the reconstruction, especially if they are still undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

"The most important thing for women to remember," Romanelli says, "is that they do have options and that they should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each choice with their physicians."

Dr. James Romanelli and his team of plastic surgeons at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery ( specialize in body, face, and breast enhancement procedures. After earning his medical degree from SUNY Downstate, Dr. Romanelli undertook 8 years of post-graduate specialty training in general surgery, plastic surgery, and hand surgery. Dr. Romanelli has received numerous awards and professional appointments in recognition of his surgical skill. He serves as chief of staff at Huntington Hospital in addition to providing a full range of procedures through his cosmetic surgery practice, where he is joined by Dr. Dana Khuthaila and Dr. Christine M. Blaine.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

James N. Romanelli, M.D., F.A.C.S.

James N. Romanelli, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Follow us on
Visit website