Study Checks Mammogram Accuracy After Fat Grafting in Breast Surgery

Fat grafting during breast surgery doesn’t interfere with mammograms, according to a new study.

“Radiographic follow-up of breasts treated with fat grafting is not problematic and should not be a hindrance to the procedure,” concludes study author Dr. Michaël Veber, of University of Lyon-Léon Bérard Cancer Center in France

An article about this research was published in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal.

During fat grafting for breast surgery, a surgeon removes small amounts of fat from one part of the body (such as the hips or thighs via liposuction) and then transfers it to the breasts.

To determine if fat grafting for breast augmentation, what the authors call “lipomodeling,” caused any problems with mammogram screenings for breast cancer, the researchers reviewed mammograms performed 16 months (on average) after lipomodeling in 31 women.

In over half of the cases, the mammograms showed no abnormalities. Some women’s mammograms showed small calcifications or cysts that were thought to be caused by the fat transfer procedure, and a few women had other abnormalities related to scarring from their breast surgery. However, the authors concluded none of these changes were considered likely to raise suspicions of breast cancer on routine mammograms.

In 20 women, researchers evaluated mammograms performed before and after fat transfer. They found no significant differences in the mammographic results from before to after breast surgery. Overall, breast density remained stable over time and “radiographic follow-up was not more difficult after lipomodeling.”

The authors suggest that women undergoing lipomodeling have a complete evaluation — including mammograms — before and after the procedure.

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