Melissa Mastroianni, MD, is a plastic surgeon specializing in breast reconstruction and aesthetics. “At the same time, I can do almost any kind of plastic surgery or reconstructive services for children and adults,” she says. Patients come to her for cosmetic augmentation; body contouring after significant weight loss; facial trauma and skin cancer scars; as well as abdominal wall reconstruction after hernia surgery.
In college, Dr. Mastroianni became fascinated with breast cancer after spending time in a lab researching how cancer affects the body at a cellular level. As a medical student, she trained with a breast cancer surgeon and immediately knew she wanted to be a plastic surgeon. “My mind was blown at the possibility of reconstructing a patient’s body so it feels completely natural,” she says.
Dr. Mastroianni focused on breast reconstruction in part because she feels empathy for her patients. “I’m in their shoes. Losing something that is so central to our feminine identity motivates me to make sure a patient is happy with her body after the surgery,” she says.
During an initial consultation, Dr. Mastroianni finds out what matters most to patients so she can ensure they feel comfortable before and after surgery. “When we are discussing a procedure, I open my laptop and show photos of what implants look like, for example, so they have an idea of the final outcome,” she says.
Patients who see her for body contouring after significant weight loss often say they feel shame and embarrassment at not being able to get rid of extra skin after losing so much weight. “I explain to them it’s not their fault at all,” she says. “The only way to get rid of extra skin is through surgery.”
“Watching a patient’s transformation so they feel proud of themselves again is the most rewarding part of my job,” Dr. Mastroianni says.