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Autologous Fat Grafting to the Reconstructed Breast: The Management of Acquired Contour Deformities

Kanchwala, Suhail K. M.D.; Glatt, Brian S. M.D.; Conant, Emily F. M.D.; Bucky, Louis P. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: August 2009 - Volume 124 - Issue 2 - p 409-418
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181aeeadd

Background: Autologous fat grafting has become a workhorse for soft-tissue augmentation throughout the body. In the reconstructed breast, autologous fat grafting is a useful tool for managing secondary contour deformities. The authors have categorized these deformities into three types: type 1 deformities are step-off deformities between the chest wall/reconstructed breast interface, type 2 deformities result from intrinsic deficiencies within a flap such as fat necrosis, and type 3 deformities are the result of extrinsic factors such as postoperative irradiation.

Methods: The authors conducted a detailed retrospective review of 110 patients who have received fat grafting to the reconstructed breast for the management of contour deformities. In addition, the authors reviewed the recent literature describing the use of autologous fat grafting to the breast. Particular attention has been placed on the concerns of oncologic surveillance in reconstructed breasts that have undergone fat grafting.

Results: The authors have had relative success in the treatment of patients who will require postoperative irradiation and even those who have rippling surrounding an implant.

Conclusions: Autologous fat grafting represents an important tool for the management of secondary contour deformities of the reconstructed breast. Fat grafting is a simple, safe, and effective treatment option, with low morbidity.

Philadelphia, Pa.; and Morristown, N.J.

From the University of Pennsylvania and private practice.

Received for publication February 1, 2008; accepted January 27, 2009.

Disclosure: None of the authors has a financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.

Suhail K. Kanchwala, M.D.; 10 Penn Tower; 3400 Spruce Street; Philadelphia, Pa. 19106;

©2009American Society of Plastic Surgeons