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Surgeon details mastectomies, hails Jolie

15 May 2013, 12:16

Beverly Hills - Angelina Jolie was up and working with "bountiful energy" on her next film project just four days after having her double mastectomy, her surgeon said on Tuesday.

Dr Kristi Funk hailed the "bold" Oscar-winning actress's positive attitude as she underwent three operations - two in February and one in April - to remove tissue and reconstruct her breasts.

"To a large extent, I believe recovery reflects expectation. Angelina expected to feel well, to be active," she wrote in a blog posted for the Pink Lotus Breast Centre in Beverly Hills.

Brad Pitt, with whom she has six children, attended for all three operations, starting on 2 February with a "nipple delay" procedure which lessens the risk of losing the nipples.

"Her partner was on hand to greet her as soon as she came around from the anaesthetic, as he was during each of the operations," said Funk.

'Freshly assembled storyboards'

The main surgery was on Saturday, 16 February, and "went smoothly", she wrote. Two days later, good news: "The pathology returned and I called Angelina to confirm our biggest hope: all of the breast tissue was benign.

"On day four after her mastectomies, I was pleased to find her not only in good spirits with bountiful energy, but with two walls in her house covered with freshly assembled storyboards for the next project she is directing.

"All the while she spoke, six (surgical) drains dangled from her chest, three on each side, fastened to an elastic belt around her waist," she said.

The final operation was carried out on 27 April, ten weeks after the mastectomies, reconstructing the breasts with implants, "which went extremely well, bringing an end to her surgical journey," she said.

'Awareness will save lives'

The blog gave comprehensive details about the various surgical procedures and drugs involved in the double mastectomy, which Jolie revealed in an op ed article in The New York Times.

Speaking outside the Beverly Hills clinic earlier, Funk said she hoped Jolie's decision to have the operation - and to go public with it - would lead other at-risk women to take action.

"We hope that the awareness she is raising around the world will save countless lives," she said, adding that the clinic "applauds Angelina Jolie's bold choices regarding her BRCA mutation".

In the New York Times piece, the actress - whose mother Marcheline Bertrand died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56 - encouraged other women to address threats to their health.

She said she was confirmed as having the "faulty" gene, BRCA1, that doctors said gave her a 87% risk of developing breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer.



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