What is Calcification After a Breast Fat Transfer?
Doctor Answers (6)
Fat calcification is a sign of fat death and loss. As fat cells dies, they are replaced by calcification. It is important to go to a surgeon who has experience with fat grafting since this procedure is very much surgeon and technique-dependent. I would personally recommend a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who has experience with fat grafting.
Fat death with calcification following injection and confusion with mammograms and cancer detection
The sign of a cancer on a mammogram is a calcification. The pattern of the calcification is very important. A powdery appearance in a star like pattern is very suspicious. When fat dies it generally causes calcifications win the form of large flakes. Usually they can be distinguished from the calcifications of cancer with the former being called macro-calcifications and the latter termed micro-calclifications.
Generally, these are not palpable but if large areas of fat die (usually from a flap and not injections) the areas can be very firm and even form cysts and sometimes require treatment or excision.
Fat grafting for breast enlargement - is it really safe?
Fat Grafting to the breast has been a controversial topic for over 20 years and still remains controversial. The main concern with Fat Grafting to the breast is that the fat cells which do not survive can result in calcifications which show up on Mammograms.
This does not always happen, and in no way are they related to cancer, but they may make cancer detection on mammograms confusing or more difficult because they look similar to the calcifications that are a sign of cancer. Many experts say they can tell the difference between fat grafting calcifications and cancer calcifications, but my concern would be the "Non-Experts".
One out of 9 american women develop breast cancer and mammograms are currently our best test for early detection. In my opinion, breast implants are a very good and much safer alternative.
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Meaning of Calcifications after Fat Transfer to the Breast
One out of 11 American women will develop breast cancer. That is a HUGE number. Just look at your co-workers and imagine how many in that group will develop that disease. Next - the most commonly used method to TRY and pick breast cancer is a mammogram.
Many breast cancers grow so quickly that portions of the tumor actually die and are replaced with small clumps of calcium surrounded by scar tissue. ONLY trained eyes of Radiologists can diagnose classic microcalcifications of the breast as cancerous. Other cancers apparently do not bother reading the books and may appear in other forms which are NOT "classic".
When fat dies, the process of healing and resorption often leads to scar tissue and calcifications which to some may appear similar to those of breast cancer. While some may protest and say that microcalcifications of cancer are quite different than other calcifications, that is NOT always the case. Moreover, if the prospect of multiple "false positive" scares and needless breast biopsies does not scare you consider the importance and likelihood of benign, fat grafting calcifications potentially hiding those of "real" breast cancer calcifications in a cancer prone organ.
Personally, I would NOT get fat grafting to the breast and would especially stay away from anyone who is NOT an member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons -www.PlasticSurgery.org.
Fat transfers to the breast and calcifications
I completely agree with everything Dr. Placik has said. All I will add is that there is a huge difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon. Don't confuse the two. Even though the cosmetic surgeons want you to think they are the same, they have nothing of the training that a real plastic surgeon does.
Fat transfer to breast
Fat transfer to the breast for cosmetic reasons is still under study and subject of major contraversy. There are still many questions to be answered before adopting the procedure. I have seen some results done in Europe which were suboptimal.
In the U.S. the procedure is done by very few plastic surgeons and is under study.
As for the difference between Plastic Surgeons and Cosmetic surgeons the following may help.
PLASTIC SURGEONS undergo at least 6 years of training specific to Plastic and cosmetic surgery
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) requires ABPS certification for membership. ASPS oversees continuing medical education, practice standards and ethics. Medical specialty certification must be differentiated from a physician's ability to designate a special area of interest. This is used by the American Medical Association and many local medical societies, is known as a "self-designated specialty." Not approved by the american board of medical specialties.
A breakdown of the membership of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS). that is COSMETIC SURGEONS:
Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery 23.8%
General Surgery 5.8%
Family Practice 1.6%
Emergency Medicine 1.6%
Internal Medicine 0.5%
(courtesy Dr. Pollock)
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.