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Sarah Hagerty. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

ROCKFORD — A study conducted in Rockford has identified a new approach to reduce

complication rates, pain levels and hospital stays of patients undergoing certain types of breast

reconstruction surgery.

The research was selected for a special pre-release online publication in The Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official journal of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The research examined the outcomes of 194 breast reconstructions that used a tissue expander to stretch the skin before inserting an implant. This type of reconstruction is common for breast cancer patients who have had a mastectomy. The new approach suggests that using a skin graft mesher before the reconstruction will lead to lower overall complication rates, shorter time for surgical drains, shorter hospital stays and a 77% decrease in the amount of opioids needed for pain management.

The research was led by Sarah Hagarty, a clinical assistant professor in the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford department of surgery and surgical specialties and a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center.

She was assisted by former medical students Lawrence Yen and Christopher Fosco, current student Jessica Luo, biostatistician Kayeromi Gomez, and research assistant professor Manorama Khare.

Hagarty joined the College of Medicine Rockford faculty in 2006. She is a graduate of McGill University Medical School in Montreal, Canada, where she also completed a general surgical residency. She completed a residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Chicago. She is currently president of the medical staff at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center.

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