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Aesthet Surg J. 2009 Sep-Oct;29(5):360-76. doi: 10.1016/j.asj.2009.08.010.

Fat injection to the breast: technique, results, and indications based on 880 procedures over 10 years.

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Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Léon Bérard Center, University of Lyon, Lyon, France.



Fat injection to the breast is not a new idea, but it has always been controversial. In particular, it has been feared that breast augmentation with autologous fat could lead to the formation of calcifications and cysts that might hinder mammagraphic examinations for detection of possible breast cancer.


The authors report their experience with fat transplantation in the breast (lipomodeling) covering 880 procedures performed over the past 10 years. They review their technique and results, and describe the various indications for which they have found lipomodeling to be appropriate.


Lipomodeling was generally performed under general anesthesia. Fat was harvested from the abdomen or in some cases from the inner thighs, depending on the patient's natural fat deposits. The harvested fat was centrifuged to obtain purified fat, which was transferred to 10-mL syringes for injection directly into the breast. Fat was injected in small quantities under light pressure, utilizing a honeycomb of microtunnels and halting when the recipient tissues were saturated to avoid creation of fatty pools that could lead to fat necrosis. To compensate for fat resorption, 140 mL of fat was injected for a desired final volume of 100 mL.


Clinical follow-up shows that the morphologic results of lipomodeling with regard to the volume obtained are stable three to four months postoperatively if the patient's weight remains constant. The postoperative radiologic appearance is usually that of normal breasts, sometimes showing images of fat necrosis that will not confuse the differential diagnosis of cancer for radiologists experienced in breast imaging. Oncologic follow-up at 10 years postoperatively (for the first patients) showed no increased risk of local recurrence of cancer or development of a new cancer. Results were highly satisfactory for both patients and surgeons. Complications included one case of infection at the harvest site, six cases of infection at the injection site, and one case of intraoperative pneumothorax that was successfully treated in the recovery room with no later consequences. The incidence of fat necrosis was 3%, with most cases occurring early in the surgeon's experience.


Lipomodeling, because of a low complication rate and positive results, presents a new option for plastic, reconstructive, and aesthetic surgery of the breast. Pre- and postoperative examination by a radiologist specialized in breast imaging is necessary to limit the risk that a cancer may occur coincidentally with lipomodeling.

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