Albany Med Surgeons Celebrate Milestone with Young Breast Cancer Survivor


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Albany Med Surgeons Celebrate Milestone with Young Breast Cancer Survivor

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April 30, 2014 - Albany , NY

Albany Med Plastic Surgery Team Celebrates Milestone in Complex Breast Cancer Reconstruction with Grateful Patient

ALBANY, N.Y., April 30, 2014 ‹ Albany Medical Center reached a milestone in performing a complex breast reconstruction technique that allows the transfer and reattachment of a patient's own tissue following mastectomy.

Albany Med microsurgeons performed the Medical Center's 100th free flap breast reconstruction on a 29-year-old Loudonville mother who discovered that she had an aggressive breast cancer when she was pregnant with her second child.  Albany Med is the only hospital in the region with the capability to perform this type of reconstructive surgery. Free flap breast reconstruction can involve the transfer of tissue from the abdomen (DIEP flap), the thighs (PAP/TUG flap), or the buttocks (IGAP/SGAP flap).

Kristy Scalise was told at 21 weeks of pregnancy that she would require mastectomy and chemotherapy. Following the successful delivery of a healthy boy, cancer treatment and mastectomy with Albany Med breast surgeon Donna Pietrocola, M.D., Scalise decided to return to Albany Med to discuss reconstructing the breast that she lost.

"I was physically healthy, but mentally and emotionally I wasn't healed," said Scalise. "That's why I came to see Dr. Agag. He explained all the options including the DIEP flap procedure and I just trusted him. He had a game plan and reassured me that everything was going to be ok."

"Essentially we rebuilt what cancer had taken away by using her own tissue to create a natural breast," said microsurgeon Richard Agag, M.D., who began Albany Med's microsurgical breast program in late 2011. "Many patients like the idea of using their own tissue for reconstruction."

"With the free flap procedure, the reconstructed breast appears and feels almost as the original breast did, and we are avoiding the multiple surgeries required for implant-based reconstruction," said microsurgeon Kristen Rezak, M.D., who also performs the procedure. 

Drs. Agag and Rezak are the area's only plastic surgeons who are also fellowship-trained microsurgeons.  They are the only surgeons in the region to offer microsurgical breast reconstruction and other highly specialized services. They are members of Albany Med's Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, a team of experts who provide the full range of reconstructive and cosmetic surgical procedures. 

Albany Med's plastic and reconstructive surgery team works closely with breast cancer specialists to offer patients state-of-the-art options for breast reconstruction, all are performed at Albany Med. Our physicians perform both immediate and delayed breast reconstruction, individualizing each patient's treatment to achieve the best possible results.

To make an appointment with our plastic surgery experts call (518) 262-2229 or visit to learn more.

Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York's only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 734-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region's largest physicians practice with more than 400 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region's health and quality of life. For more information: or


Media Inquiries:

Nicolette  Viscusi

(518) 262 - 3421

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