Rise of Fat Grafting in Breast Reconstruction

A recent article in BioNews Texas stated that “the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) are reporting that plastic surgeries are on the rise with a 3 percent rise for cosmetic procedures, and a 2 percent rise for reconstructive procedures over the last year.” According to UT Southwestern plastic surgeons, this increase may be a result of patients becoming more aware of various surgery options and new techniques.

As there are a number of reconstruction procedures, breast reconstruction was up 4 percent with silicone implants accounting for 72 percent of all breast augmentations performed in the past year and saline implants used in 28 percent of cases.

According to Dr. Rod Rohrich, Chair of Plastic Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center:

I think women in particular are educating themselves more and becoming more interested in learning about their options for breast reconstruction, along with growing awareness of studies showing breast reconstruction improves quality of life. To see that a rise in breast reconstructive surgeries is an important indicator that educational outreach efforts are having an effect.”

Fat Grafting Breast Reconstruction

Illustration: Brown Bird Design. See full diagram “How to Build a New Breast” in Wired Magazine.

New techniques in fat grafting have also contributed to an increased interest in reconstructive surgeries. Although the article points to an interest in buttock augmentation, it is also a surgical technique used in breast reconstruction.

Seventy percent of U.S. plastic surgeons have used fat grafting techniques for breast operations, but they are more likely to use it for breast reconstruction rather than cosmetic breast surgery, reports a survey study in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Fat grafting, also known as liposuction, is done by harvesting fat from one area of the body and injecting into other areas. It is commonly done for cosmetic reasons. For breast reconstruction, it is most commonly used as a complimentary procedure for women who have undergone either implant or flap reconstruction to correct mild deformities.

For more information about fat grafting and breast reconstruction surgery, contact Dr. Elisabeth Potter.