Las Vegas Plastic Surgery
Beauty Queen Electing to Undergo Operations to Save Herself from the Disease that Claimed Her Mother, Grandmother and Great Aunt
The Miss America Pageant contestants have hit Las Vegas. It is a synergistic relationship where the town loves the pageant and the pageant loves the town. Case in point, the flyover by our “hometown” Air Force Base Nellis, Thunderbirds over the Las Vegas Strip to welcome them. Pageants are a lot of work to finally get to the finished project. As a Pageant Judge, I have seen the hard work and camaraderie that has a lasting impact. Pageants can be wonderful things, both for the contestant, providing confidence, poise, opportunities, scholarships, and for the causes that they champion. Some of the causes can hit very close to home.
Allyn Rose, the 24-year-old Miss DC plans to undergo a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction. She is removing both breasts as a preventative measure to reduce her chances of developing the disease that killed her mother, grandmother, and great aunt.
“My mom would have given up every part of her body to be here for me, to watch me in the pageant,” she said between dress rehearsals and preliminary competitions at Planet Hollywood on Wednesday. “If there’s something that I can do to be proactive, it might hurt my body, it might hurt my physical beauty, but I’m going to be alive.”
This notion may seem extreme, but it is becoming more common.
The number of women opting for preventive mastectomies increased 10-fold between 1998 and 2007, as genetic testing and reconstructive surgery options improved, according to a 2010 study published last year in Annals of Surgical Oncology.
This type of procedure is usually done on those who have a significant history of the disease, and have positive genetic type that puts them at risk. With a positive BRCA gene, the incidence of breast cancer goes from 15% to 60%. Miss Rose does not have this particular gene; however she did inherit a rare genetic mutation which might predispose her to the gene. Again, these are the genes that medicine knows about, and can test for.
Part of this trend is the reconstructive options that women now have available to them. The progress over the past few years has been amazing. Many patients state that they look better after the reconstruction than they did before.
On a personal note, I have a couple of friends from high school who underwent prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. They look great and are very happy with their choice. They are both Mothers and told me that they wanted to be there for their children. This sentiment has been well documented in other stories. It may be an aggressive approach, but one that is becoming more common and accepted both in medical and public circles.
Still, many women still don’t know about reconstructive options. A recent study showed that 70% of patients undergoing mastectomy were never told about reconstruction. In an effort to improve this, some states (i.e.; New York), now mandate that reconstructive options must be discussed before mastectomy. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, (ASPS), also is making an effort to educate with the advent of Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day BRA Day, during October, Breast Cancer awareness month.
For Miss Rose, it is a personal decision. It is ironic that she just happens to be in a contest where a lady’s figure is part of the judging criteria. It is my view that whatever she decides, that it must be appropriate for her. If it alleviates her concern about a disease that has taken so many close to her, then it may be the appropriate decision for her. Further, with the breast reconstructive options that are available, she should be able to participate in pageants, and more importantly the rest of her life.
How to overcome obstacles, with poise and confidence, and be a role model, is what the Miss America Pageant is supposed to be all about. In that regard, Miss Rose is already a winner.
Jeffrey J. Roth, M.D., F.A.C.S.(702) 450-0777