Background: The number of total mastectomy patients requesting breast reconstruction is increasing. However, many patients refuse this surgery because the procedures are too complex, too prone to complications, or even just because of the fear of breast implants and their long-term consequences. In this study, a comprehensive assessment of the results and complications of only fat grafting breast reconstruction is presented.
Methods: Between 2012 and 2021, 127 fat grafting breast reconstruction was performed in 117 patients who previously received total mastectomy. These included 70 cases of delayed breast reconstruction (DBR) and 57 "conversions," i.e., removal of a reconstructive implant replaced by iterative fat injections. The patients were fully informed about the procedure's risks and benefits before intervention. All the patients signed an informed consent. The procedure, complications, and results were analyzed on a regular basis every 3-6 months (average follow-up of 3 years).
Results: Data from 117 patients with a mean age of 59 years (25-83) were included in this study. The mean body mass index was 23 (19-30). Seventy patients had received radiotherapy before mastectomy (55%). An average of 3.17 injections (2 to 7) with an average volume of 300 cc were required to finalize the breast reconstruction, with a total average injected volume of 933 cc. Simple fat transfers were performed on an outpatient basis except for bilateral or associated procedures. In 48 cases (40%), the patients received appropriate procedures on the contralateral breast to make it symmetrical. Complications happened in 10 percent of cases, mostly minor complications like fatty cysts or much-localized Cytosteatonecrosis though in a limited number of patients, more serious problems with hematomas, abscesses, diffuse Cytosteatonecrosis or very extensive lymphoceles appeared.
Conclusion: The findings of this study support fat transfer breast reconstruction as a safe procedure with acceptably low complications, even in patients who have received radiotherapy in their history. Furthermore, this procedure can be applied in an outpatient setting. It seems that the application and the indications of this easy and feasible procedure will be increased in the coming years.
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