Making Patients Whole Again
From the moment of a breast cancer diagnosis, the multidisciplinary team at St. Mary Medical Center strives to mend patients in body, mind, and spirit
by Phil Gianficaro

A woman sits nervously across from her doctor awaiting her diagnosis. She hopes for the best, but instead hears two words that shake her to her core: breast cancer.
Breast cancer affects one of every eight U.S. women and accounts for at least one third of all new cancers annually. Surgical treatment options for breast cancer include a mastectomy, the full removal of one or both breasts; and a lumpectomy, the removal of the cancerous tumor and some surrounding tissue, to preserve as much of the breast as possible. 
At St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, breast cancer surgeries are performed by surgical oncologists Russell M. Reisner, M.D., and Kristin M. Krupa, M.D., a Bucks County native who will join St. Mary’s team in September. Breast surgical oncologists are specialists trained in the diagnosis and management of breast cancer, as well as advanced surgical techniques such as nipple-sparing mastectomies and the care of benign and high-risk breast disease. Dr. Krupa is excited to work with a talented group of plastic surgeons at St. Mary Medical Center that provide a wide range of expertise in breast reconstruction. 
The plastic and reconstructive surgery team at St. Mary Medical Center implements state-of-the art techniques to help restore the shape, volume, and symmetry of the breast following a mastectomy or lumpectomy. The team of plastic surgeons—Nathaniel L. Holzman, M.D., FACS, Karen M. Kaplan, M.D., and John G. Fernandez, M.D., FACS—creates individualized treatment plans to help each patient meet her goals. These surgical procedures include using implants, a patient’s own tissue, as well as more advanced tissue rearrangement techniques.
“At St. Mary Medical Center, we have the latest technology, and offer cutting-edge procedures to help guide them through the reconstructive process,” says Dr. Holzman, who has served as the Chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at St. Mary Medical Center for the past 10 years. “The most rewarding part of my job and the most humbling honor is for my patients and their families to offer me the opportunity to care for them. Throughout their treatment journey, we work with our breast surgeons to offer a healing experience that promotes both emotional and physical wellbeing.”
A breast surgeon is often the first doctor a patient will see following their breast cancer diagnosis, according to Dr. Krupa, an alumna of Central Bucks East, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. 
“I aim to educate my patients on their disease and find an individualized treatment plan that fits them and their family,” she says. “One of the best parts of my job is during a postoperative visit when I can tell a patient they are cancer-free. The goal is to have them remember they have a team behind them who is dedicated to achieving a good outcome and navigating the challenges of treatment.”
Dr. Krupa looks forward to using cutting-edge technology at St. Mary’s such as Magseed. A magnetic stainless-steel marker the size of a grain of rice, Magseed guides breast surgeons in the removal of cancerous or suspicious breast tissue and, in the process, fostering better outcomes for patients due to its minimally invasive nature.
As the field of breast surgery evolves, so do the reconstructive surgery options. At St. Mary Medical Center, Dr. Holzman and his colleagues offer oncoplastic reconstructive tissue rearrangement techniques that did not exist in years past. In addition, Dr. Fernandez recently established one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s first comprehensive medical and lymphedema surgery programs.  
Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery provides much more than breast reconstruction following a cancer diagnosis. Cosmetic and reconstructive surgery services include surgical procedures to enhance the face, breasts, and body; cosmetic procedures to revitalize the skin and body-contouring procedures following massive weight loss; and surgical options to correct genetic anomalies, treat wounds, and reconstruct tissue following trauma.
Patients in need of post-cancer care are among the most meaningful to Dr. Holzman. He cites one patient’s story that has stayed with him.
“She was a lovely young woman in her 40s diagnosed with breast cancer,” he recalls. “She was so worried about not only cancer, but also feeling deformed following the lumpectomy and radiation. At the time, we were one of the few centers that offered oncoplastic tissue rearrangement reconstruction and fat-grafting procedures. She beat cancer, and she did it glowing with confidence. She inspired me to always push the envelope and do more for our patients.”
St. Mary Medical Center
1201 Langhorne-Newtown Road
Langhorne, PA 19047
(215) 710-2000
Photo by Alison Dunlap

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, August 2022.