Dr. Ram Kalus shares his opinion on Angelina Jolie’s recent announcement regarding her double mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
Charleston, SC — Recently, actress and producer Angelina Jolie announced that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy followed by a breast reconstruction in order to greatly reduce her risk for developing breast cancer. In light of her news, Dr. Ram Kalus, a board-certified Charleston plastic surgeon specializing in breast reconstruction, offered his opinion and praise on her decision to be proactive about her health.
“Ms. Jolie’s decision to share her story with the public is truly courageous and admirable,” says Dr. Kalus. The Charleston plastic surgeon notes that when public figures such as Jolie vocalize their personal experiences and decisions regarding preventative healthcare procedures, the public benefits from an increased sense of awareness about numerous medical options available. This awareness, he adds, can inspire someone to take preventative action which might potentially save his or her life down the line.
“Just as Jolie portrays in her New York Times article, the reality of cancer is difficult and unnerving,” says Dr. Kalus. He notes that “facing the diagnosis of breast cancer or having a heightened risk of developing the disease can instill two basic fears into any woman: first, of mortality, and second, of disfigurement.” However, on the positive side, he adds that “advancements in breast reconstruction techniques can make the thought of disfigurement following a mastectomy almost a thing of the past.” In fact, he says innovative techniques like the “Direct to Implant” (DTI) reconstruction technique now enables surgeons to avoid the traditional tissue expansion phase and actually insert the final breast implants at the time of the mastectomy.
While Jolie opted to receive breast implants, which is increasing in popularity at his Charleston plastic surgery practice, Dr. Kalus highlights an alternative breast reconstruction technique for some patients who would prefer not to receive implants. He says, “Women who possess an adequate amount of excess soft tissue in their tummy or buttocks may be candidates for autologous reconstruction in which the patient’s own tissues are used to create the new breasts, although not every mastectomy patient may qualify for this procedure.”
Ultimately, Dr. Kalus says women facing a potential breast cancer diagnosis, a family history of breast cancer, or are known to be carriers of the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutations should seek the consultation of a qualified oncologic breast surgeon and a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction when considering their surgical options. Due to her family medical history and presence of a BRCA 1 defect, the Charleston plastic surgeon commends Jolie for her awareness and proactive decision-making. In the end, he urges all women to be proactive and take any necessary steps towards maintaining an optimal level of health:
“The most important thing women need to know is that they cannot change their family history or genetic makeup, but they can minimize their risk of developing breast cancer by following a healthy lifestyle with proper eating habits including a low fat diet, avoiding smoking, exercising regularly, and following the American Cancer Society guidelines of annual screening mammograms.”
About Ram Kalus, MD, FACS
A graduate of Boston University, Dr. Ram Kalus is a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in Charleston and Mount Pleasant, SC. At Plastic Surgery of the Carolinas, his private practice, he offers a variety of treatments and procedures ranging from breast augmentation and breast reconstruction, to tummy tuck surgery and facial rejuvenation. Dr. Kalus is an active member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, as well as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Additionally, he is a recognized pediatric specialist of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Kalus is available for interview upon request.