A procedure called lipofilling, where doctors use the patient’s own fat cells for breast reconstruction, does not increase the risk of recurrent breast cancer. The researchers conclude that this procedure is safe in spite of the concern regarding the consequences of the procedure.
The results prove that there is no increase in the risk of locoregional or systemic recurrence in women with breast cancer who opted for breast reconstruction with lipofilling. Plus, preventive mastectomy does not increase the risk of initial breast cancer in women who are at a higher risk.
The new research involved studying 1,000 partial or total mastectomies followed by breast reconstruction with lipofilling. Thirty percent of the mastectomies were risk-reducing mastectomies done with women with a high genetic risk of developing breast cancer.
The recurrent breast cancer rates were compared to women who did not undergo reconstruction with lipofilling. The researchers found out that the rates from the lipofilling were similar to the ones without the procedure.
Women who had lipofilling have 1.3 percent chances of locoregional recurrence of cancer of the breast and the surrounding area, which was not dramatically different from the 2.4 percent risk in those who did not have it. Developing systemic cancer recurrence were 2.4 percent more likely to happen to women with lipofilling, which is not that significant in comparison to the 3.6 percent chances in women without it.
The research team adds that women who have undergone preventive mastectomy did not develop primary breast cancer. However, women who were taking hormone therapy have a 1.4 percent increased risk of locoregional recurrence. Nevertheless, the team maintains that this risk was still small.
In 2013, more than 60 percent of surgeons from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons have used fat for breast reconstruction surgeries. This study provides relief for many plastic surgeons who still doubt the safety of the procedure but the researchers admit that more research is needed so more surgeons will choose lipofilling to provide patients with the best results.