Photo: Gustavo Huerta, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer
Some women no longer feel like they ever had breast cancer when they look in the mirror, thanks to a complex new procedure available at Houston Methodist in The Woodlands.
Breast Cancer does not run in Tana Key’s family. The occupational therapist had a normal mammogram. But not even a full year later, she began to feel what was only suspected to be a small, flared-up lymph node.
A thorough investigation in the dense tissue eventually resulted in the discovery of a small spot of Ductal carcinoma in situ — breast cancer, stage 0. But the diagnosis was not a death sentence.
After deciding to remove both breasts, a bilateral mastectomy, Key, 48, learned that precancerous cells were found in her other breast as well. She believes the early detection made it possible to prevent the potentially fatal spread.
“I chose the more aggressive surgical route because I didn’t want to have to worry anymore,” Key said.
Following the emotional experience, she turned to the Houston Methodist Institute for Reconstructive Surgery at the hospital off Texas 242 in The Woodlands, where she became the first patient there to undergo a less commonly performed, profunda artery perforator flaps procedure, also known as a PAP flap surgery with “ReSensation” technique.
The procedure involves taking excess fat tissue and small blood vessels from deep within the back of the patient’s thigh, along with donated nerve grafts, to give the woman innervated breasts that not only look but feel natural.
Now Key has not only defeated cancer, but regained sensation, confidence and peace of mind.
She praises the Houston Methodist team for their care and skill, which inspired her to return to work for the hospital system’s outpatient therapy clinic and gave her a chance