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Fat Injection for Breast Enlargement May Hinder Mammogram

Latest Study Contradicts Earlier Findings

Radiologist: ‘Fat Cells Look Different’ continued...

And he says their practice of massaging the breasts following fat injections in an attempt to distribute the fat cells may have had the opposite effect by causing the fat to clump. 

Radiologist Eva Rubin, MD, says fat injections, like any other breast augmentation procedure, can result in fat necrosis and calcifications within the breast, but most of the time these are easily distinguishable from breast cancer. 

Rubin is clinical director of the breast imaging center for Montgomery Radiology Associates in Montgomery, Ala. 

“There are cases with very early calcifications that may mimic breast cancer, but if you know a patient has had a (breast) procedure you are probably not going to jump right in and do a full workup,” she says. “Within a short period of time these calcifications tend to look like more typical fat necrosis.”

Advice: ‘Choose Surgeon Carefully’

Khoobehi says women who are considering fat injections for breast reshaping need to be very careful about choosing a surgeon.

He recommends:

  • Choosing a surgeon certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery who has performed at least 20 fat injection procedures.
  • Choosing a surgeon who insists on long-term follow-up.
  • Avoid surgeons who do not take questions about the risks seriously. “If a surgeon tells you mammograms aren’t an issue because their patients don’t have calcifications, walk away,” he says.

He says patients should also avoid any surgeon claiming to perform breast augmentation with stem cell injections.

“This has not been approved by the FDA for use in the United States, but it is all over the Internet,” he says. “Unethical surgeons may be claiming to do it, but who knows what they are injecting.”

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