What is Lipofilling and How is It Used for Breast Reconstruction?
- Asked by Eva S in Seattle, WA
- 4 years ago
Can fat transfer techniques be successfully applied for breast reconstruction? Or are there better methods out there?
Fat transfer techniques can aid breast reconstruction
Fat transfer is a useful tool to optimize breast reconstruction outcomes. I recently fat grafted a patient's TRAM flap to improve volume, projection and shaping of the reconstructed breast. Insurance will pay for 'revision of breast reconstruction' and patients benefit from the liposuction required to obtain the fat for grafting. That's a double bonus for the patient !
Web reference: http://www.scottsattlermd.com
Fat grafting has been shown to be a reasonable ancillary procedure to "touch-up" monor irregularities with breast reconstruction.
Fat grafting and breast reconstruction
in general, fat grafting (removing fat from one area of the body and injecting into the reconstructed breast) is used to fill-in or refine areas of the reconstructed breast.
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Fat grafting to fine tune results of your reconstruction
Fat grafting is a useful tool to fine tune the results from your post mastectomy results with either implants or using your own tissue (DIEP/TRAM). Fat is removed from another area of the body using a liposuction technique and processed to be injected in tiny amounts to areas that need more volume. I tell my patients that not all of the fat we inject will "take". Therefore additional treatments may be needed. The early results for fat grafting as an adjunctive treatment to post mastectomy reconstruction has been quite promising.
Fat transfer great for breast reconstruction
Fat transfer can be really useful in breast reconstruction for some patients. Obviously it is not possible to use fat transfer as the only means of reconstruction. Fat transfer is most useful for filling in smaller asymmetries that may still exist following your reconstruction procedures.
Fat transfer or lipofilling and breast reconstruction
Recently advances have been made in techniques to harvest and transfer living fat cells from patients and move them from one part of the body to another. Improving contour issues in breast reconstruction is one situation that fat transfer has an increasingly important role.
Most commonly, fat transfer is used to soften the interface between the edge of the implant and the surrounding tissues. Sometimes, the extent of the mastectomy is beyond where the implant will fill and a sharp stepoff is noted. Fat can be harvested from one part of the body (such as the abdomen, flanks, hips, or thighs) and prepared in such a way as to preserve the most living fat cells. These are then immediately injected into the tissues using special instrumentation that allows the fat to be deposited in small streams to increase the likelihood that the blood supply will grow into the fat tissue.
Sometimes, fat transfer can be used to increase the size of an autologous reconstruction (such as a TRAM flap or DIEP flap), or to correct localized contour deformities.
The use of fat transfer to correct post lumpectomy deformities, to enhance then size of a normal breast without using implants, or to creaste a breast mound without any additional need for tissue transfer or implants are exciting new frontiers that are currently being evaluated.
Fat grafting in breast reconstruction
Fat grafting is often used in breast reconstruction for two main reasons -
- To correct the "shelf" that occurs between the chest wall and the upper pole of the implant
- To correct contour irregularities around the implant (palpable ripples, thin areas of skin, etc.)
The fat is removed from another area of your body (abdomen, thighs, hips) and is processed to isolate the fat cells. These fat cells are then injected into the area you wish to fill. Depending on technique, a percentage (the higher the better) of this transplanted fat will "take" or live and thus correct the deformity. Sometimes, more than one surgery is required to correct an area.
Some insurance companies deem this procedure as "investigational" and will not pay for it. It is important to discuss this with your surgeon prior to undergoing fat transfer. Other options include using dermal fat grafts (leaving fat attached to skin and transplanting as a single unit) and dermal matrices such as Alloderm.
Web reference: http://www.drbogue.com
Lipofilling or fat transfer can be very useful in breast reconstruction.
Fat transfer is not the primary technique in breast recostruction, but we often use it to add finesse and a more natural look AROUND the main reconstruction.
The main breast reconstruction is done with an implant or a flap. But there can be hollows or defects from the mastectomy around the implant or the flap. This is where filling in with fat injections can turn a good result into a great result.
Lipofilling can help give a more natural look in your breast reconstruction.
Lipofilling, also called microfat grafting or fat transfer, is the process of removing fat cells from one area of the body via liposuction, then processing them and transferring them back into another area of the body, in this case the breast. When used as part of reconstruction, lipofilling can help soften the effect of an implant for a more natural look, as well as help improve minor asymmetry between the breasts. Lipofilling can be especially successful to restore the shape of the breast following a lumpectomy, just to smooth out your contours when a full implant may not be necessary.
Fat Grafting with Breast Reconstruction
Fat Transfer techniques are a hot topic in plastic surgery. We are now applying many of these principals to our breast reconstruction patients.
For DIEP flap patients, we can use fat to fill any hollow areas or to add shape or volume to the flap. For implant reconstruction, we can use the fat to help camouflage the implant look and minimize the appearance of rippling.
I wish you a safe recovery and wonderful result.
Web reference: http://www.drpaulgill.com
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.