Background: Mastectomy with axillary dissection is still one of the most common procedures in oncologic surgery. Unfortunately, a condition of neuropathic pain, termed postmastectomy pain syndrome, can appear after mastectomy. Although evidence regarding the epidemiology of postmastectomy pain syndrome is well researched, an effective therapy is still unknown. The aim of this study was to assess the clinical effectiveness of lipoaspirate graft in the treatment of postmastectomy pain syndrome.
Methods: From February of 2006 to August of 2008, a total of 113 patients affected by postmastectomy pain syndrome and severe scar retractions were enrolled for this clinical study. Seventy-two patients were treated with autologous fat grafted in painful scars, and 41 patients did not undergo any further surgical procedure. Pain assessment was performed using a visual analogue scale before and after treatment, with a mean follow-up of 13 months. In addition, antalgic drug intake was recorded in the 34 patients who received a surgical treatment. Results were analyzed using the Wilcoxon rank sum test.
Results: A significant decrease in pain according to the visual analogue scale was detected in patients treated with autologous fat graft (3.23-point reduction, p = 0.0005). Twenty-eight of 34 patients stopped their analgesic therapy with a significant follow-up (13 months).
Conclusions: Autologous fat grafting is a safe, relatively noninvasive, and rapid surgical procedure. The authors' results suggest its effectiveness for treatment of postmastectomy pain syndrome.
CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, II.