Following the horror of being diagnosed with breast cancer, and, in some cases, radical surgery, the traditional process for reconstructive surgery can be long, painful and time-intensive with doctor’s visits.

But with October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center has announced that it is the first hospital in New York City in the outer boroughs to offer a new, faster way for women who have opted for a mastectomy to start the process for breast reconstruction surgery.

Dr. Sophie Bartsich, a plastic surgeon at JHMC, said the AeroFoam technique places an implant inside the woman’s chest and allows for quicker, less painful expansion of the tissue in creating space for a permanent implant.

“The traditional method is by inserting an implant that has to be expanded in a doctor’s office, using a needle to inject saline,” Bartsich told the Chronicle.

But the AeroFoam procedure uses an implant that has an internal CO2 cartridge that the woman can inflate up to three times per day using a hand-held remote control device.

She first learned of the device when it was being tested by one of her mentors, Dr. Jeffrey Ascherman, chief of plastic surgery at New York-Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan.

“I called him and asked about it,” she said.

The device allows the patient to prepare for reconstructive surgery on her own —and often accelerated — schedule.

Angela Corker, one of Bartsich‘s patients, was diagnosed with cancer back in August.

“I had surgery,” she said. “With this, I control it. I’m participating in my own recovery.”

It can be done at the patient’s home or anywhere else on a daily basis any time she has the opportunity, rather than having to schedule appointments over time to have injections at a doctor’s office when both doctor and patient can find a mutually agreeable time.

“A patient isn’t out in limbo waiting between doctor’s appointments,’ Bartsich said. “A patient can be ready for reconstructive surgery in weeks instead of months. And there’s less risk of infection.”

Corker said another bonus as far as she is concerned is that there are no needles that are needed to inject the saline for traditional expanders.

“Like a cancer patient needs more needles,” Bartsich said.

While the device and procedure are new, they are no longer considered experimental. Multiple published sources report that both were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2016.

That clears another large hurdle for at least some patients.

“Insurance does pay for it,” Bartsich said.