Breast Cancer Diagnosis at Age 50, Double Mastectomy and Multi-stage Reconstruction - Coral Gables, FL

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I turned 50 in May 2014. I had a routine breast...

I turned 50 in May 2014. I had a routine breast ultrasound in June, which led to an MRI assisted biopsy and a diagnosis of STAGE 1 breast cancer in my right breast by July, 2014. I immediately began researching plastic and reconstructive surgeons. I was referred to Dr. Max Polo by several medical professionals, including my trusted breast specialist and surgeon of many years, Dr. Robert DerHagopian. After further research, I found that Dr. Polo's former and current patients also highly recommend him.

From my first phone call to his office to schedule an initial consultation, Dr. Polo’s staff treated me with the utmost care and proficiency, especially Sel, his surgical coordinator. Upon hearing my diagnosis, they worked me into the schedule immediately. I met with Dr. Polo within days, on a Saturday, for my first appointment. Within the first 5 minutes of our meeting, both my husband and I knew that we would choose Dr. Polo to perform my breast reconstruction surgery.
Dr. Polo, Sel, his surgical coordinator, his assistant, Ana, Hayley at reception and his entire staff made me feel very comfortable and cared for, from the moment I walked in the door. At my first appointment and every appointment since, Dr. Polo and his staff have treated me with the same enthusiasm and professionalism. I would also like to mention my gratitude for the entire office’s respect of my time, by running their practice punctually on a consistent basis. Dr. Polo's surgical coordinator, Sel set up and coordinated all of my necessary appointments, including all pre-operative testing and insurance needs, making a very stressful time, less so, in every possible way.

By September 2014, I was admitted to South Miami Hospital, under Dr. Polo’s expert care, for part one of bilateral breast reconstruction, with cohesive silicone gel implants, immediately after undergoing a double mastectomy and sentinel lymph node removal and biopsy, by the equally wonderful Dr. Robert Derhagopian.

Prior to my surgery, Dr. Polo met with me to discuss all of my options and choices and listened carefully to my concerns and expectations for the final result. Dr. Polo patiently explained every detail and answered all of my questions (and there were many!), and was honest about what we could achieve with each option, helping me to make the best decisions for my individual case. I decided, in addition to the removal of my right breast containing the tumor, to also prophylactically remove my left breast, downsize both breasts, and remove the nipple and areola on both sides.

Our treatment plan was to place implants, ideally during the first surgery, if there was enough room and skin coverage available. If that was not possible, and if necessary, plan B was to place expanders, which would later be exchanged for implants, in the second phase of reconstruction surgery. As it turned out, Dr. Polo successfully placed the implants, without the need for expanders.

In the same surgery, Dr. Polo grafted donor tissue, between the implants and my skin, to my entire chest area to provide sufficient, natural looking coverage of the implants. This was necessary to achieve the best result, because all of my natural breast tissue was removed. The decision to remove all breast tissue and both nipples, reduces the chance of the cancer recurring.

Dr. Polo met with my husband and me again in pre-surgery, immediately prior to my surgery, and completely put me at ease. His calm and confident demeanor gave me confidence, as I was about to undergo the most serious surgery of my life. He was there to reassure my husband immediately after my surgery, and was there when I awoke in recovery.

Dr. Polo saw me everyday of my hospital stay, including Saturday and Sunday; he made sure my pain was well managed and was a simple phone call away, 24 hours a day, if needed. He continued to monitor me weekly in his office, making sure that I was healing as planned. I continued the follow-up appointments at regular intervals, and a few months later we began discussing and planning the second stage of my surgery.

Dr. Polo performed Stage two of my breast reconstruction in February 2015. The goal of this surgery was to perfect the shape of my reconstructed breasts, after having allowed the implants to settle and the swelling to subside. He accomplished this by adding my own fat (happily "borrowed" from my stomach) to several areas of both breasts, and a few additional refinements to the mastectomy scars. These refinements were made in preparation for the third stage of reconstruction (date to be determined at the time of this review), in which Dr. Polo will create 3 dimensional nipples using the mastectomy scars. The final step will consist of tattooing the areolas to provide natural looking pigmentation.

After having undergone the first two stages of reconstruction surgery and healing, I can sincerely say that I am ecstatic with my results! I have every confidence that the final, upcoming phase of my surgery will render equally excellent results, as I have complete trust in Dr. Max Polo. Dr. Polo's artistry and skill as a surgeon, as well as his compassion as a human being, have allowed me to feel completely healed. While my obvious first concern was treating and surviving breast cancer, as a 50 year old woman, I was also facing a potentially life altering change in my physical esthetic.
Dr. Polo made what could have been a very traumatic transition for me, go as smoothly as it possibly could. I am forever grateful to Dr. Polo and his team for their guidance and help through a very trying period in my life.

I do not hesitate to recommend Dr. Max Polo to anyone looking for a remarkably skilled plastic and/or reconstructive surgeon, as well as an incredibly kind and compassionate human being. I consider Dr. Polo and his wonderful staff to be outstanding professionals in their field, as well as dear friends.

Angela Mangialetto Caplin
May 12, 2015
Miami Plastic Surgeon

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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