US surgeon details Angelina Jolie's breast operations

(BEVERLY HILLS, California) Angelina Jolie was up and working with "bountiful energy" on her next film project just four days after having her double mastectomy, her surgeon said Tuesday.

Dr Kristi Funk hailed the "bold" Oscar-winning actress's positive attitude as she underwent three operations – two in February and one in April – to remove tissue and reconstruct her breasts.

Read report: Angelina Jolie: I had double mastectomy

"To a large extent, I believe recovery reflects expectation. Angelina expected to feel well, to be active," Funk wrote in a blog entitled ‘A Patient's Journey: Angelina Jolie’.

Brad Pitt, with whom she has six children, attended all three operations at the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills, starting on 2 February with a "nipple delay" procedure which lessens the risk of losing the nipples.

"Her partner was on hand to greet her as soon as she came around from the anaesthetic, as he was during each of the operations," said Funk.

SMOOTH PROCEDURES

After the first operation, "her skin was slightly bruised but soon returned to normal”.

“Two days after her procedure, great news arrived: the tissue behind both nipples came back completely normal," she said.

The main surgery was on Saturday, 16 February 2013, and "went smoothly", she wrote.

Two days later, good news: "The pathology returned and I called Angelina to confirm our biggest hope: all of the breast tissue was benign.

"On day four after her mastectomies, I was pleased to find her not only in good spirits with bountiful energy, but with two walls in her house covered with freshly assembled storyboards for the next project she is directing.

"All the while she spoke, six (surgical) drains dangled from her chest, three on each side, fastened to an elastic belt around her waist," she said.

IMPLANTS

The final operation was carried out on 27 April, 10 weeks after the mastectomies, reconstructing the breasts with implants, "which went extremely well, bringing an end to her surgical journey", she said.

The blog gave comprehensive details about the various surgical procedures and drugs involved in the double mastectomy, which Jolie revealed in an op-ed article in The New York Times.

Speaking outside the Beverly Hills clinic earlier, Funk said she hoped Jolie's decision to have the operation – and to go public with it – would lead other at-risk women to take action.

BOLD CHOICE

"We hope that the awareness she is raising around the world will save countless lives," she said, adding that the clinic "applauds Angelina Jolie's bold choices regarding her BRCA mutation".

In The New York Times piece, the actress – whose mother Marcheline Bertrand died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56 – encouraged other women to address threats to their health.

Referring to the Beverly Hills clinic by name, she said she was confirmed as having the "faulty" gene, BRCA1, that doctors said gave her a 87-per-cent risk of developing breast cancer and a 50-per-cent risk of ovarian cancer.

Funk concluded her blog about Jolie by lamenting that many women do not know about BRCA gene mutations.

"Breast and ovarian cancers take lives every day – knowledge and action can help prevent the premature loss of those who love us, and whom we deeply love in return," she said.

"Like Angelina, I urge women who feel they might have reason to be at risk for a BRCA gene mutation – perhaps because of a strong family history of cancer – to seek medical advice and to take control of their futures."



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