Looking To Love Handles For Breast Reconstruction

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Looking To Love Handles For Breast Reconstruction featured image

Love handles may be one of the most aggravating and stubborn areas of fat, but Johns Hopkins University researchers have found that they can come in handy during breast reconstruction.

“When implants aren’t used, the most common technique for reconstructing breasts after a mastectomy is to make breast tissue from a flap of fat and skin from the abdominal region,” explains cosmetic surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery assistant professor Ariel N. Rad, MD, PhD. “Thin, athletic women don’t have enough tissue there. But even they often have some excess fatty tissue in that space between the hip and waist. For them, using those love handles is a new option.”

Previously, women who did not have enough abdominal tissue would often undergo SGAP surgery, which retrieves tissue from the buttocks, leaving it deformed and in need of additional surgery. Furthermore, this kind of tissue is difficult for surgeons to work with when it comes to connecting a blood vessel.

The new form of the surgery incorporating love handles, called LSGAP, can often provide a better vessel connection. However, even when the vessels weren’t long enough in some of the dozen patients the study examined, the outcomes were still excellent. In addition to a reconstructed breast, the patients were left with an in-tact buttocks and an aesthetically improved waist and hip contour.

“If you’re not a candidate for an abdominal flap and you want to use your own tissue, you’re not without options,” Dr. Rad says. “This is a refinement of previously deforming surgery.”

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