FORCE Superheroes: Dr. C. Andrew Salzberg and Dr. R. Michael Koch
Dr. C. Andrew Salzberg and Dr. R. Michael Koch of the New York Group for Plastic Surgery are superheroes for the skill and compassion they provide to women undergoing mastectomy breast reconstruction to treat or prevent breast cancer.
Dr. Salzberg wanted to provide women with a quicker, less uncomfortable process of mastectomy breast reconstruction to replace the traditional tissue expander process. He pioneered the Direct to Implant, or “One-Step,” breast reconstruction procedure using acellular dermal matrix to allow immediate insertion of a permanent breast implant with no need for tissue expanders or a second implant placement surgery. He performed the first Direct-to-Implant breast reconstruction in 2001 and on more than 530 women since, and travels around the U.S. and the world instructing surgeons in his technique.
Dr. Koch is a highly skilled microsurgeon who, in addition to performing direct to implant breast reconstruction, offers women the option for autologous tissue flap reconstruction, often called DIEP. Dr. Koch rebuilds a woman’s breasts by transplanting live skin, fat, and muscle from another part of the body, usually the abdomen, buttock, back, thigh, or hip area. Dr. Koch’s expertise and compassionate nature also lead him overseas to donate time treating people and training local doctors in remote areas of countries like Ghana and Vietnam lacking access to high-level surgical care.
Dr. Koch and Dr. Salzberg have been closely connected to FORCE for many years and have provided care for hundreds of FORCE members. They have participated in all seven annual Joining FORCEs Conferences presenting information and spending time one-on-one answering questions in order to educate high-risk women about their options for reconstruction after mastectomy. Their surgeries have enabled many high-risk women who would not otherwise have elected to undergo preventive mastectomy to proceed with this life-saving surgery. And as further demonstration of their commitment to the HBOC community, the New York Group for Plastic Surgery is planning to match donations to FORCE in Drs. Salzberg and Koch’s honor up to $5,000.
We are grateful to have Dr. Salzberg and Dr. Koch in our wall of heroes!