Breast Augmentation :: Plastic surgery societies issue caution on fat grafting for breast augmentation

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) have announced that fat grafting for breast augmentation is not recommended at this time based on the lack of safety and efficacy data, and amid concerns that the procedure may interfere with accurate detection of cancer.

Fat grafting or lipoinjection is a process in which fat cells from one area of the body are transferred to another area of the body, and is commonly used for enhancement of the face or hands. Despite increasing consumer interest in this technique, there is little clinical evidence to suggest that fat grafting for breast augmentation is safer or better than saline or silicone implants, and long-term complications, including tissue scarring and calcification, can obscure or mimic breast cancer during breast cancer screening by self examination, mammography, ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Fat grafting has been around for more than twenty years, but many plastic surgeons have been skeptical of using it for breast augmentation because of safety issues such as distinguishing calcifications caused by fat grafting as opposed to those associated with breast cancer,? said Foad Nahai, MD, President Elect of ASAPS. We advise caution to women seeking fat grafting for this purpose and strongly support the ongoing research efforts that will establish the safety and efficacy of the procedure.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery urge consumers considering fat grafting over saline or silicone implants for breast augmentation to proceed cautiously, since the temporary benefits of fat grafting may be offset by low survival rates of the transferred cells (which are frequently absorbed by the body), development of cysts, calcification and tissue scarring, as well as long-term problems with breast cancer detection. Tissue calcification, in particular, can make accurate detection of cancer difficult, since it is difficult to distinguish mammographically between calcifications associated with breast cancer and calcifications associated with fat transfer.

?Patients considering breast augmentation need to know that fat grafting for this indication is not recommended at this time, unless one is part of an ongoing clinical research study,? said Roxanne Guy, MD, President of ASPS. ?Even though fat grafting techniques have become more refined and breast cancer detection methods have become more sophisticated with time, creating a great deal of excitement about the potential of fat grafting, we simply need more data before we can recommend that this procedure be generally used to augment breasts.?

Leave a Comment