Dr. Keegan on Angelina Jolie’s Courage

Dr. Keegan comments on the NY Times Op-Ed piece entitled My Medical Choice By ANGELINA JOLIE

Courage is a term that is easily brandished and often mistakenly. Not so for the brave and courageous announcement by Angelina Jolie that she has recently undergone bilateral prophylactic  (preventive) mastectomies and implant reconstruction.
Ms. Jolie could have easily kept this information private yet chose not to. By her very public announcement in the New York Times she not only describes how her decision empowered her but encourages others, certainly of less fame, to be equally empowered.

Her story is unfortunately one that I encounter with alarming frequency; a  young woman with a family history of breast cancer. Often, as in the case of Ms. Jolie, the woman is the mother of young children.  Genetic testing may provide powerful information that can help a woman make important decisions for herself and her family. The tremendous advances that we have made in reconstructive surgery after mastectomy often help make the decisions about how to deal with this information much more acceptable. Today, with nipple sparing mastectomies and both implant based or tissue based breast reconstruction options, reconstruction can restore a woman's form and as Ms. Jolie describes, maintain her femininity.

Over the past 20 years I have seen firsthand how powerful the effects of breast reconstruction can be for women who have undergone mastectomy and there is no doubt that the courageous step of considering prophylactic mastectomy could rarely if ever be contemplated if the option for a beautifully reconstructed breast could not be offered by a plastic surgeon.

Plastic Surgery New York Leo Keegan, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Plastic Surgeon Leo Keegan has a keen interest in giving back. Shortly after he finished his training, Dr. Keegan became the Co Medical Director for the Avon 3-Day Walk to benefit breast cancer research. He regularly volunteers on medical missions despite a full surgery schedule and two offices in New York City and Englewood, New Jersey. He traveled to Honduras with a group of Mt Sinai Medical School students, and to Haiti with a team of colleagues who are members of the New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons. In 2011, Dr. Keegan went to Vietnam with the Tran Tien Foundation (www.trantienfoundation.org) a non-profit organization dedicated to providing medical care and supportive/social services to the underprivileged and underserved in Hue, Vietnam. He looks forward to returning to Vietnam again this spring to continue his work with this group. Along with Dr. Carlin Vickery, Dr. Keegan is part of New York’s longest-tenured microsurgical team, and he maintains an academic appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Categories: New York Plastic Surgery Blog