Lipofilling after breast cancer
Lipofilling is the term used to describe taking fat from a patient’s own body then transplanting it to another area, typically for cosmetic reasons. It is increasingly being performed on women who have had damage done to their breasts after cancer treatment.
Lipofilling can optimise a breast reconstruction.
Fat is taken from another area of the body, like the abdomen or thighs, and injected to enhance the appearance of the breast (or other area).
Many cosmetic surgeons are turning to fat grafting as a means to achieving superior results, but there was some reluctance when it came to breast reconstructions due to the possibility that the tissue would encourage new cancer growth. Lipofilling is considered a safe procedure, and is now not thought to increase the risk of new breast cancer development.
How the procedure is carried out?
Lipofilling is done under either general or local anaesthetic, as per the requirements of the patient. Fat is manually liposuctioned out of the donor area, without mechanical assistance, as the fat must be kept whole and undamaged, so it can survive in its new home. Regular liposuction techniques can be too rough on the fat cells, so very gentle harvesting is performed.
The fat is separated from oils, fluid, and blood, so just a concentrated fat mixture remains. It also contains stem cells and growth factors, which help stimulate the fat cells in their new home.
The fat is very gently injected into the layers of tissue, at differing levels, underneath the skin and soft tissue in spaghetti-sized layers. This technique allows more fat to survive with more stable results, creating the humble beginnings of a new breast, or an enhancement to another area.
Lipofilling is considered an acceptable method of reconstructing a damaged breast in a more natural way than breast implants might provide.
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