Fat Grafting and Breast Augmentation Safety

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There has been some media attention given recently to fat grafting as a method for breast augmentation.

Some news sources may have erroneously suggested that The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Task Force on Fat Grafting has approved the procedure as a safe and effective method of breast augmentation. On the contrary, the Task Force cautioned that if fat grafting was used for breast augmentation, the results were variable at best, the longevity of the results was unknown, and more treatment may be needed.

Perhaps most important, as reported in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, are the factors concerning patient safety.

“There is a potential risk of the fat grafting interfering with the breast cancer examination or breast cancer detection… there is limited data available on this important factor at this time.”

The American female has a 1 in 7 chance to get breast cancer so I find it very problematic to perform or recommend an elective cosmetic breast procedure that may mask the ability to detect breast cancer. We cannot recommend this procedure be done routinely for cosmetic reasons until we have performed randomized controlled clinical trials in this area.

We are physicians first – not Plastic Surgeons. We must do no harm – first and foremost. We must be concerned about the safety of our patients and not perform or market techniques which have not been proven to be safe or effective long term.

As a physician leader and educator, I feel it important to make everyone aware of this information.

-Rod J. Rohrich, M.D.