Fat grafting techniques for breast reconstruction are commonly used by US plastic surgeons

July 1, 2013, Wolters Kluwer Health

Seventy percent of U.S. plastic surgeons have used fat grafting techniques for breast operations, but they are more likely to use it for breast reconstruction rather than cosmetic breast surgery, reports a survey study in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Once discouraged, fat grafting to the breast is an increasingly common technique, according to the new report. But more data is needed to optimize the technique and outcomes of fat grafting for breast reconstruction, according to a published report from a team led by ASPS Member Surgeon Dr. J. Peter Rubin of University of Pittsburgh and Russell Kling.

High Rate of Fat Grafting for Breast Surgery…

The researchers surveyed the ASPS membership regarding their use of fat grafting for breast surgery. In recent years, there has been renewed interest in techniques using the patient's own fat for cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery. In these procedures, the surgeon uses liposuction to obtain from one part of the body—such as the abdomen or thighs—and uses it for augmentation or reshaping of the breast.

Four hundred fifty-six ASPS Member Surgeons responded to the survey. Overall, 70 of the plastic surgeons reported ever performing fat grafting to the breast.

Eighty-eight percent of plastic surgeons who currently perform fat grafting to the breast said they use fat grafting for breast reconstruction techniques, and often apply fat grafting along with implants or flap procedures. The surgeons found fat grafting particular useful for improving the shape of the breast, including reconstruction after "" for early-stage breast cancer.

Three-fourths of surgeons performing fat grafting reported that the was their preferred site for obtaining fat for the procedure. The survey also provided information on techniques of harvesting and processing fat cells.

…But Potential Obstacles to Fat Grafting Techniques Noted

There is a long history of debate over the use of fat grafting for of the breast. In the late 1980s, ASPS issued a strong statement against the use of this technique, citing the risk of difficulties in early diagnosis of breast cancer. However, more recent studies have reported that fat grafting to the breast provides very good results. Those studies also reported that changes seen on mammograms are easily distinguished from abnormalities related to .

As with any surgical treatment, risks must be considered. The plastic surgeons responding to the survey viewed issues of interference with mammography and cancer screening as potential obstacles to fat grafting. Others cited problems with unpredictable results, including poor retention of the transplanted fat cells.

Despite these concerns, the new survey suggests that fat grafting to the breast is an increasingly popular procedure among U.S. plastic surgeons. Nearly 90 percent of the surgeons performing this procedure use fat grafting for , with a smaller percentage also using the procedure for cosmetic breast surgery.

The study provides useful "benchmark" data on the current use of breast fat grafting by U.S. plastic surgeons. Dr. Rubin and colleagues cite the need for further studies to establish optimal techniques for maximizing fat graft retention and patient satisfaction with the results. "This study shows the increasing popularity of fat grafting to the , especially to benefit patients undergoing reconstructive procedures. As this field evolves, plastic surgeons will better understand the factors that lead to the best long term outcomes," says Dr. Rubin.

They write, "This standardization may also increase the potential applications of the technique and may lead to increased prevalence in clinical practice."

Explore further: Weight of tissue flaps affects complication risk after breast reconstruction

Related Stories

Weight of tissue flaps affects complication risk after breast reconstruction

May 29, 2013
For women undergoing breast reconstruction after mastectomy, the weight of the tissue flap used affects the risk of an important complication called fat necrosis, reports a study in Plastic and Reconstruction Surgery-Global ...

New fat grafting procedures improve breast reconstruction

April 20, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Two autologous fat grafting procedures, enhanced stromal vascular fraction (SVF) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) fat grafting, maintain breast volume and three-dimensional contour better than the standard fat ...

New classification of fat grafting techniques proposed

September 10, 2012
(HealthDay)—As the use of fat grafting in plastic surgery continues to evolve, a new way of classifying fat grafting techniques has been proposed that aims to match the technique to the specific clinical situation, according ...

Breast cancer survivors benefit from fat transfers after mastectomies

August 10, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- When Susan McLain, 49, underwent a double mastectomy, she never imagined that she would look and feel better after reconstructive surgery than she did before breast cancer.

Cytori breast reconstruction cell therapy trial results published

March 19, 2012
Cytori Therapeutics announced today the publication of RESTORE-2 trial results in the peer-reviewed European Journal of Surgical Oncology.

Breast augmentation patients report high satisfaction rates, says study

May 1, 2013
Ninety-eight percent of women undergoing breast augmentation surgery say the results met or exceeded their expectations, according to a prospective outcome study published in the May issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, ...

Recommended for you

Cold open water plunge provides instant pain relief

February 12, 2018
A short, sharp, cold water swim may offer an alternative to strong painkillers and physiotherapy to relieve severe persistent pain after surgery, suggest doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

Study spotlights risks in anesthesiologist handoffs

February 9, 2018
Most patients are totally unaware that the anesthesiologist who put them under for surgery might not be the same one who brings them out even though that 'handoff' between the two doctors has been linked to a series of negative ...

One in five older adults experience brain network weakening following knee replacement surgery

February 7, 2018
A new University of Florida study finds that 23 percent of adults age 60 and older who underwent a total knee replacement experienced a decline in activity in at least one region of the brain responsible for specific cognitive ...

New algorithm decodes spine oncology treatment

February 6, 2018
Every kind of cancer can spread to the spine, yet two physician-scientists who treat these patients describe a paucity of guidance for effectively providing care and minimizing pain.

Patients and doctors often disagree in evaluation of surgical scarring

February 1, 2018
When it comes to the physical scars surgery leaves behind, a new study shows patients and doctors often don't assess their severity the same way. Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania ...

Boosting a key protein to help bones that won't heal

February 1, 2018
When a patient breaks a bone, there's a possibility the fracture won't heal properly or quickly—even with the aid of pins, plates or a cast.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.