Reconstructive Surgery Restores Hope to Survivors of Breast Cancer

by | Dec 2023

ACCORDING TO Atalla Plastic Surgery, there are an estimated 280,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in the United States each year, and approximately 70% of these women are unaware of their reconstructive options. For that reason, Dr. Victor Atalla and Dr. Katie Durnen are eager to assist through the uncharted waters of reconstruction following a breast cancer diagnosis. “We want to educate and empower women to make the reconstructive decision that is best for them,” said Dr. Katie Durnen, a board-certified plastic surgeon. “Breast reconstruction may not be the right option for every woman, but for many, it is a life-changing procedure. My ideal patient is one who is invested in having a successful procedure and recovery period. They have reasonable expectations, actively participate in their own healing, and display a positive attitude. Communicating well with my patients allows me to develop a plan tailored to their individual goals and desires.” 

“Reconstruction of a breast that has been removed due to cancer or other disease is one of the most rewarding surgical procedures we offer,” said Dr. Katie Durnen. “New medical techniques and devices make it possible for surgeons to create a breast that can come close in form and appearance to matching a natural breast. Frequently, reconstruction is possible immediately following breast removal (mastectomy), so the patient wakes up with a breast mound already in place, being spared the experience of seeing herself with no breast at all. Reconstruction can also be performed in a delayed fashion after healing from the mastectomy and completing other recommended treatments. The goal of breast reconstruction is to restore one or both breasts to near normal shape and size following a mastectomy or lumpectomy.”

Durnen, a native of Glasgow, graduated with a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Louisville in 2013. She earned several honors, including the Morgan Williams Award for most outstanding student in surgery clerkship and the Dean’s Rural Academic Merit Scholarship. She completed her residency at the University of South Florida and had the distinct privilege of receiving her training at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network-recognized Moffitt Cancer Center. While there, she learned the reconstructive techniques for breast cancer, advanced skin cancer, and sarcoma. After completing the residency program in 2019, Durnen returned to Kentucky. “This area is my home. I get to take care of patients who helped raise and shape me. I also enjoy meeting new faces, and I love the collaborative nature of the health care providers in our area, especially regarding cancer care.”

“Caring for breast cancer patients is one of my favorite parts of my work. I get to take patients who have suffered physically and emotionally through mastectomy and other breast cancer treatments and help them feel whole again through breast reconstruction. A memorable patient came to me in pain from tethered mastectomy scars. After breast reconstruction, her pain resolved, even though that wasn’t necessarily the primary goal of the procedure. She was so grateful. Those cases are certainly fulfilling to me as a surgeon. I am so lucky to have Dr. Victor Atalla and Peggy Atalla as partners who also serve as mentors and friends. Getting to work with the excellent staff that the Atalla’s have trained so well is also a bonus.”

Dr. Victor Atalla received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Boston University, then completed his residency at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., followed by extensive training in plastic surgery at Georgetown University. Dr. Atalla founded the practice 25 years ago, and for the last five years, the Bowling Green Daily News has voted the practice as the best for contouring and overall beauty treatments. Atalla has built a reputation as a highly skilled medical professional and a doctor who offers compassionate care to every patient in every situation.

Atalla Plastic Surgery is the largest and most comprehensive plastic surgery practice in Bowling Green. They offer a broad spectrum of innovative, non-surgical therapies in a state-of-the-art center, including injectable services (Botox, Dermal Filler, and more), laser therapies (Brazilian butt lift, face/vein pigment removal, tattoo removal), as well as a variety of medical-grade facials and skin care options. Procedures that Dr. Atalla cannot perform in the office are conveniently scheduled at The Medical Center. 

Dr. Atalla’s team strives to bring the best and latest technology of treatments, services, and surgical procedures to Bowling Green. They compassionately assist patients in achieving beauty, self-care, and wellness goals. GN 

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