Fat Grafting -  An Important Tool in Breast Reconstruction

By: Courtney Floyd

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Fat grafting is a procedure that has been around for many years. It is widely used in breast reconstruction surgery today.

  • it can correct partial breast defects after lumpectomy
  • it is used in conjunction with other breast reconstruction techniques to optimize breast contour and improve the final cosmetic results after both implant-based and autologous (flap) reconstruction
  • it is the primary breast reconstruction technique in male breast cancer patients
  • it can fill in contour defects and improve chest soft tissue padding after mastectomy in patients choosing not to undergo breast reconstruction

At PRMA we primarily use fat grafting in conjunction with other reconstruction techniques to improve patient outcomes. In fact, a study published in JAMA shows fat grafting is an important tool in breast reconstruction.

The study sought to determine if fat grafting influenced patient-reported outcomes in breast reconstruction patients. Over 2000 women who had undergone implant or flap-based breast reconstruction following mastectomy with at least two years of follow-up were included in the study. Patients were asked to participate in a survey that included questions about breast satisfaction, as well as psychosocial, physical, and sexual well-being. Patient-reported outcomes were compared between fat grafted and non-fat grafted patients.

The results of the study indicate that "fat grafting provides measurable improvements in breast satisfaction, psychosocial well-being, and sexual well-being for breast reconstruction patients regardless of if they underwent implant or flap reconstruction."  We also see this reflected in our practice.

Want to learn more about fat grafting? Dr. Chrysopoulo discusses the procedure in further detail HERE.

*It is important for patients to know fat grafting is not covered by all insurance companies, so the procedure can involve out of pocket expenses for some patients. 

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