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Opportunity begets opportunity

May 5, 2017

Some of you may remember my post from a couple of years ago about a patient who requested a surgical technique (DIEP+Implant) that I had no experience with. She sought a second opinion and as luck would have it that surgeon happened to love our city of Vancouver. He generously offered to come to Vancouver to instruct me on the technique during the operation. I saw this as a great opportunity to learn from one of North America's best breast reconstruction surgeons (Dr Scott Sullivan).


Dr Scott Sullivan, Patient, Dr Sheina Macadam March 2015


 Dr. Sheina Macadam and Dr. Scott Sullivan in the OR


The surgery was successful and as a bonus I got to spend a few days speaking with Dr Sullivan and showing him around Vancouver. He created the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery in New Orleans, which was expanded after hurricane Katrina to include eight operating rooms and enough patient rooms to house over 20 inpatients. The surgeons at this center perform breast surgery exclusively and have become innovators in the field of breast reconstruction. I got to thinking that it might be a good idea to go down to New Orleans and see what else I could learn.


Last month I booked a ticket and after finding out that Vinnie Myers also works at the CRBS I decided to bring my tattoo artist Leah along as well. Vinnie originally started as a tattoo artist and gradually added 3D nipple areolar tattooing to his repertoire. He is now famous for his nipple tattoos which are some of the best I have ever seen. His young daughter has recently taken up his craft and is training as an apprentice. We got to meet both Vinnie and Anna while we were there.


While I was there I observed Dr Sullivan and some of his partners perform procedures that have given me a new outlook on how to use my skills. This team is truly pushing the boundaries of excellence to create better and better options for our patients. They are also an example of innovation at the crossroads of specialties - for example Dr Sullivan was the first to combine the standard DIEP technique with laparscopic technique to spare even more muscle and fascia, giving patients less chance of problems with their abdomen after surgery. I was so inspired by their work, but also the vision and passion behind building this center of excellence.    


Dr Scott Sullivan, Dr Sheina Macadam April 2017

I feel very lucky that the opportunity to work with Dr Sullivan literally dropped in my lap. It forged a friendship that has led to this most recent opportunity, and also the chance to collaborate on an article that I wrote on breast reconstruction for our journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. We also had time for a little entertainment including a dinner out and some sight-seeing. All in all an awesome opportunity! 


 Anna Myers, Dr Sheina Macadam,Vinnie Myers, Leah Grandmaison, Dr Michele Cooper, Dr Scott Sullivan

Leah Grandmaison, Dr Sheina Macadam on Bourbon St.

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