Plastic surgeons who help women restore breast volume after mastectomy or lumpectomy have often used fat injections to ease the look of lumps that can arise with breast implants. Now, a new study suggests another benefit to using fat transfers in breast reconstruction for cancer patients: It may also reduce the risk of radiation complications that can occur when breast implants alone are used.
Some women who receive radiation following breast cancer treatment are instructed to not opt for implants because the toxicity of the radiation can cause problems with healing. However, researchers at the University Hospital “A. Gemelli” in Rome found that creating a “bed” of a woman’s fat, grafted from another area of her body, resulted in “good” to “excellent” appearance in 94 percent of the women.
Fifteen months after the procedure, there were no reports of complications. Published in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the study included only 16 women, and while the results were promising, “Larger studies with a longer follow-up are required to confirm our findings,” the say the study’s authors.
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