Improving Breast Reconstruction Surgery Through Research

Karen McNew McGuire's picture
By Karen McNew McGuire on May 31, 2018

“1 in 8 women in the US will get breast cancer,” noted Dr. Robert Gourdie, director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute’s Center for Heart and Regenerative Medicine Research. “That means mothers, sisters friends, co-workers. Everyone will know someone who’s suffered from this awful disease. There is a real need to address the issues associated with breast cancer."
Dr. Gourdie and Dr. Kurtis Moyer, Carilion Clinic’s chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, are collaborating on a project to find ways to reduce  complications for patients who have breast reconstructive surgery.
“One of the biggest issues that women who have implants for breast reconstruction face is capsular contracture,” explained Dr. Moyer. “There’s scar tissue envelope that forms around the implants.”
So, you beat cancer, and what you expect to be the last step in a long journey may lead to more surgeries? 
“Right now, unfortunately there is no way for us to stop this process,” said Dr. Moyer.
We are pouring through thousands of genes looking at how they change,” added Dr. Gourdie.
Identifying those changes is the first step toward identifying protocols that can reduce or even prevent scar tissue formation.  
That means taking what we learn in the lab and applying it to clinical problems,” said Dr. Moyer. “That’s an incredibly powerful thing that we can offer to patients.”
“Their research is right at the cutting edge of delivering improved clinical service, but basing it on fundamental hard-nosed science,” said Dr. Michael Friedlander, founding executive director, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. “It is a match of the best of science and the best of medicine.”