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Surgery to Lose Fat, Get Bigger Breasts?

Breast Augmentation With Fat Grafts Shows Promise, but Questions Remain, Plastic Surgeons Say

Fat Grafting: Addressing the Concerns continued...

He found that the post-op mammograms "identified changes that one would expect after any breast procedure" and that the technique should be considered an alternative or adjunct to breast enhancement and reconstruction procedures.

Spear says he found the technique to be safe overall and that improvement in appearance was the norm in his study of patients who had the fat injections to improve deformities in their reconstructed breasts.

The fat grafting "is a wonderful adjunctive tool" for reconstruction after mastectomy, Spear says. In his study, reported in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 37 patients had the injections in 43 breasts. The fat sometimes died and repeat injections were sometimes needed. But minimal to moderate improvement was seen in 64% of the breasts and substantial improvement in 21%, he says.

A task force assigned to study fat grafts for breast augmentation has submitted its recommendations to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Coleman tells WebMD. He was a member of the task force.

A statement is expected from the society later this year, he predicts.

"Until our society gives an OK in writing," Coleman told physicians at the meeting, "you are at legal risk."

Breast Augmentation With Fat: Research

Two clinical trials are focused on studying fat grafts for breast enhancement, including one led by Spear at Georgetown University.

Another, led by Roger Khouri, MD, of Brava, is testing the combination of the Brava system and fat grafts.

Second Opinions

More study is needed on fat grafts to the breast, says William Aiello, MD, a plastic surgeon in Los Alamitos, Calif.

"There's a paucity of information," he says. "It will take another couple of years to determine exactly the best use for it."

"I think we need more confirmation from the radiologists" to confirm that breast cancer could be detected in fat-injected breasts, says Lee Colony, MD, a plastic surgeon in East Lansing, Mich., and clinical associate professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing. He has performed the procedure on a limited basis for breast reconstruction patients.

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