Shannen Doherty has been sharing her breast cancer journey on social media since going public with her diagnosis in August of last year, and on Thursday she updated her followers with the next steps in her treatment process.
The actress, 45, shared a video from her visit to her reconstructive surgeon’s office, where she is getting her tissue expander expanded in preparation for radiation.
“This is Dr. Jay Orringer, who is my reconstructive surgeon and my friend,” she says in her Instagram video. “What he’s doing is I have an expander in [and] because I’m starting radiation soon, he has to overexpand me [to] make this placeholder larger because radiation shrinks it.”
“Radiation acts like a shrinkwrap effect around the expander,” Orringer explains. “Whether you lose 20 percent volume or 30 percent, it’s difficult to know.”
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In her caption, Doherty expressed her gratitude for her doctor’s work.
“I consider myself very lucky and very blessed to have this man as my doctor,” she says. “The last couple of days have been busy gearing up for radiation.”
According to breastcancer.org, tissue expanders are used in breast cancer patients who will undergo reconstructive surgery at the conclusion of their treatment. After breast tissue has been removed, the expander is placed between the skin and the chest muscle to stretch the skin in order to make room for the final implant. Many doctors prefer the expander be put in prior to radiation for better cosmetic results.