Breast Reconstruction

Dr. Ron Israeli offers hope and wholeness after cancer diagnosis.
6:37 | 11/15/11

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Transcript for Breast Reconstruction
We heard a lot about breast cancer prevention and treatment that there is a component that is not spoken about as often the physical and emotional impact that comes with the loss of a woman's breasts from the treatment or prevention of cancer. Joining me now is doctor -- Israeli a plastic surgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction. He's also a sculptor who developed a project called breast reconstruction restoring hold. And he created light -- -- sculptures of six of his patients as a way to offer hope to the newly diagnosed. And also joining him is breast cancer survivor and patient of his Lin CNN Colombo thanks to both of you so much. For being here today. With -- and start up playing a sound bite from a viewer is suddenly speak about the project. Just work they -- -- -- -- I had qualified to be a conductor at the Long Island -- At what a house. I was ready to really push forward. And have a life. Meet somebody who then. I. Everything was to be good. And then. -- -- You have breast cancer. -- -- The and that was the point. And your life when were first diagnosed with breast cancer how long ago was that. July 21 2008. How are you now you look fantastic Green now some kind of country. I didn't he didn't break and I definitely benefits under -- -- -- and how did you -- get in touch with doctor Israel's. Through -- Sugarman who was there when I was diagnosed. And she referred me to use -- Israeli and it was the best decision. One and within a complicated time for you very emotional time it was very emotional it was. You know at that point everything goes quickly you -- here -- -- rush to do everything you and you want results tomorrow than the next today. So. -- just kind of follow -- wave. Just. His -- -- and lined up you know -- We wind up is hopefully ways should be exactly and doctor -- really -- came up with this. This concept of sculpting your patience. Breasts to give them a sense of hope. You know -- A since I started my practice plastic surgery. Started working with a sculptor and various cultural projects and as one project in particular where we did a life cast. Not a patient but a model. And -- just occurred to me that this might be something that I can apply. You know it to my breast reconstruction. Patients and it was it was almost a way that I could show. In -- tangible way to give them -- tangible understanding. Visible. Sort of heightened awareness through -- three dimensional. Sculpture. Of what the process of breast reconstruction really. Because it can be terrifying for one -- one point assailant in your documentary that some of their patients would rather not be treated not have a mastectomy then lose. Their breasts and all the facts and -- Right and you know that's fortunately that's. That's -- most. Women and you know the quality of what we can achieve now breast reconstruction -- so much better than it was in the past. And it's on the forefront of national -- health care agendas and out in the media so that women know that there is that option for reconstruction. But yeah you know the fear of mastectomy is a very real one. And again. In being able to see something through -- project like this you know one of the women that that I did the life cast. Had a mastectomy she hadn't had reconstruction and during the exhibit. We were able to see her reaction. You know her reaction not only to seeing herself. Having had a mastectomy. -- -- -- Seeing the other life cast sculptures which were all women -- had reconstruction what was -- well I think -- kind of a kind of affirmed in her mind. You know that. There's -- light -- the end of the tunnel. She's going to be okay. And the decision to do reconstruction for her was. You know as a right -- Kelly and she did decides she decided leaders in the area but that's the kind of I guess responsible reaction that I would hope that the project like this could elicit gratitude to inspire hope. Drive bright hope the lowest tuitions are -- can happen. And well the truth is. In the United States. Reconstruction. Is not offered two actually most women that undergo mastectomy and and while that may not be true in -- in -- -- not covered by insurance. It's not a -- by insurance because there are there's a women's health care rights act of 1998 that does. To some extent. Mandate insurance coverage from for breast reconstruction for. Women with breast cancer. But I think that there is availability in some parts of the country that's lacking in -- there is sort of awareness that's lacking in. -- -- in fact while across the country most women may not be even offered. Certainly in our community it's it's. It's something that. That really most women -- to do. And -- -- and you opted for reconstruction craft. And definitely I -- are -- happy that Iran no brain area. Right away millionaire that's what you're going to it was four weeks in two days from diagnosis. To. A double mastectomy. And and I had my reconstruction a year later. But and how wonderful to see you sitting here so happy not healthy and -- -- a -- -- Colombo thank you so much doctor Ron Israeli thank you so much thank you thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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