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The Penn State Health Approach to Plastic Surgery

If you need plastic or reconstructive surgery, you want an experienced team you can trust. At Penn State Health, we offer a level of expertise you can’t find anywhere else nearby.

As an academic medical center, we offer experience, the latest medical technology and expert capabilities people count on from across Pennsylvania. If there’s a new surgical advancement, our surgeons are on the leading edge of care.

Our surgeons are specially trained in microsurgery, which requires a microscope and tiny instruments to work on delicate structures such as nerves and blood vessels. That’s important because these surgeries require advanced skill and precision to create the most natural-looking results. Also, our surgeons are experts in wound closure to minimize scarring.

Whether you need surgery to repair a condition you were born with (a congenital abnormality) or you want to improve appearance or function after an accident, illness or aging, you can count our skill and experience

A Full Range of Plastic Surgery Procedures

We provide comprehensive care for people of all ages, including expert care for children. We specialize in cosmetic surgery, breast surgery, hand and wrist surgery, craniofacial surgery and reconstructive surgery to repair congenital abnormalities, trauma or cancer.

You can depend on personal attention from well-respected specialists known for their skill. We develop a treatment plan to give you the best results and let you return to your life with greater confidence and well-being. We learn about your lifestyle and what’s important to you to provide the results you envision.

We have advanced expertise in:

  • Advanced team care for Cleft lip and Palate patients from birth through late teens.
  • Comprehensive team based Craniofacial Surgery
  • Breast reconstruction with the latest microsurgical techniques using your own tissue as well as tissue expansion and implant-based reconstructions
  • Hand surgery for fractures, injuries to soft tissue, nerves and tendons, arthritis, carpal tunnel and other overuse injuries
  • Reconstructive Surgery for complex defects after trauma and cancer treatment to the face, mouth, jaws, chest wall, abdominal wall and extremities
  • Comprehensive Surgical care for all forms of skin cancer and melanoma
  • Advanced wound healing, including care for diabetic and pressure ulcers and non-healing wounds caused by accidents or surgery (list this last)

Support Groups

Hope for HS – Hidradenitis Suppurativa Support Group

Hope for HS is a support group for people with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). Meet other individuals and their loved ones and exchange ideas about the...

Hope for HS is a support group for people with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). Meet other individuals and their loved ones and exchange ideas about the general management of HS such as wound care and social support. Facilitated by Penn State Department of Dermatology clinicians, researchers and staff, the support group is free and open to patients with HS and their family and friends.

There is the option to call into the meeting for those unable to attend in person. Please contact the HS chapter director at PSHDerm@hopeforhs.org for additional information.

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Our Experts in Plastic Surgery

The plastic surgery team is committed to providing comprehensive care, with a focus on cosmetic surgery, breast surgery, hand and wrist surgery, craniofacial surgery, and general reconstruction including microsurgery for defects related to congenital abnormalities, trauma or cancer.

Why Choose Penn State Health for Plastic Surgery

We’re known for our skill and precision in a wide range of plastic and reconstructive surgeries. Our experience makes us a trusted choice for people across Pennsylvania.

Expert, Team-Based Care Designed for You

Our plastic surgeons work as a team with specialists in trauma care, cancer, surgical weight loss, orthopaedics, dermatology, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) and other medical specialties to ensure each person gets complete care.

People choose us because:

  • We offer seamless access to advanced expertise and the latest clinical trials in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine.
  • Our plastic surgery services receive the highest patient satisfaction rating within Penn State Health.
  • Our plastic surgeons are consistently ranked among America’s Best Doctors.
  • Over the last several years, we’ve treated hundreds of people with non-healing wounds and helped 95% of them heal completely.
  • We make getting care convenient, offering services at six locations throughout central Pennsylvania.

Plastic Surgery Research and Clinical Trials

Penn State Health focuses on discovering innovative approaches that offer better results and less recovery time. We lead clinical trials in wound healing and breast, craniofacial, hand, reconstructive and oncology surgery. Learn more about our clinical trials.

Related Services and Treatments

  • Breast surgery
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Congenital abnormality repair
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Craniofacial surgery
  • Ear deformities
  • Face and jaw deformities
  • Hand and wrist surgery
  • Microsurgery
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Skin grafting
  • Wound healing

Conditions Treated

  • Abnormalities caused by illness, surgery or trauma
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Congenital disorders
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Tendon and nerve injuries

Risks of breast implants

You may have heard recent media reports regarding breast implants and a rare form of cancer called Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, (BIA-ALCL). The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently updated information regarding BIA-ALCL and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons is working closely with the FDA to monitor the disease. The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center wants its breast implant patients to be informed about BIA-ALCL and the FDA’s recommendations related to this disease.

What is breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)?

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare type of lymphoma, or cancer of the immune cells. ALCL is considered a “blood cancer” and is not breast cancer. Breast implant-associated ALCL is a distinct type of ALCL involving the capsule or fluid surrounding a breast implant.

What causes BIA-ALCL?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), ASERF and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not found a specific factor which causes BIA-ALCL. Implant texturing, bacteriologic contamination and genetic factors have been implicated and are undergoing further study. Bacteria that cause inflammation have been found in areas surrounding the affected breast, which could contribute to disease.

What are the symptoms of BIA-ALCL?

Most people are diagnosed when they seek medical treatment for implant-related symptoms such as pain, lumps, swelling, fluid collection, or asymmetry that developed after their initial surgical sites were fully healed.  In reported cases, BIA-ALCL was diagnosed as long as 32 years after (and on average, eight years) following the implant surgery.

How is BIA-ALCL diagnosed?

If you develop swelling in the breast area surrounding the implant, you should undergo an ultrasound scan. Mammograms are not useful in diagnosing BIA-ALCL.

How common is breast implant-associated ALCL?

There are an estimated 10-11 million women worldwide with breast implants. While total numbers vary in the scientific literature, there have been 100-250 known cases of ALCL in women with breast implants worldwide. Fewer than 10 patients are diagnosed per year with this disease. The only study demonstrating an association between breast implants and BIA-ALCL estimated an incidence of 1 in 300,000.

Are all women with breast implants at equal risk for developing breast implant-associated ALCL?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the association of ALCL and breast implants is roughly the same for women receiving implants for aesthetic cosmetic purposes and for reconstructive purposes. The association appears to be the same for saline, silicone and polyurethane implants. However all known cases of breast implant-associated ALCL have involved textured implants, rather than smooth implants.

Are textured implants safe to use?

Evidence suggests that textured implants can cause more inflammation compared to smooth implants and increase risk of BIA-ALCL. Penn State physicians have observed a connection between textured implants and occurrence of BIA- ALCL and have discontinued use of textured implants for safety of our patients. It is best to talk to your physician about known risks and potential complications associated with the type of implants used.

If I have had breast implants should I be screened for BIA-ALCL?

If you have not experienced any symptoms or changes in breast associated with BIA-ALCL then you do not need more than routine check-ups.  If you experience a change in her breasts – especially if there is swelling or a lump – you should undergo examination and appropriate imaging, including ultrasound and fine needle aspiration of any fluid surrounding the implant.

Should I consider having my implants removed to lower my risk?

There is no current recommendation for additional screening or removal of implants for women with no symptoms. From what is known about this association between implants and ALCL, the FDA recommends women do not change their routine medical care and follow-up. Contact your plastic surgeon if you notice swelling, fluid collection or unexpected changes in breast shape. Have regular imaging evaluations as recommended by your provider, including mammograms and, if you have silicone implants, periodic MRI to detect ruptures. The FDA and the Institute of Medicine maintain that breast implants do not impair breast health or cause breast cancer, and scientific evidence continues to support that FDA-approved breast implants have a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness.

How is breast implant-associated ALCL treated?

When breast implants are placed in the body, they are inserted behind the breast tissue or under the chest muscle. Over time, a fibrous scar called a capsule develops around the implant separating it from the rest of the breast. Treatment of breast implant-associated ALCL for most patients is removal of the implants and any mass associated with the capsule that held the implants. In all but a few cases, the disease has been fully resolved by this surgery alone. The majority of patients require no additional treatment.

What is the prognosis of patients that are diagnosed with breast implant-associated ALCL?

Additional information and resources on BIA-ALCL are available online at www.plasticsurgery.org/alcl and by searching "ALCL" on RADAR.

The information in this document reflects the latest understanding and recommendations available on the topic from the FDA, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and was compiled from resources available at the links below.

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