Some plastic surgeons may still be reluctant to use lipofilling because of concern that it might affect the risk of primary or recurrent breast cancer. However a recent study in the February issue of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, reports that lipofilling does not increase the risk of recurrent breast cancer.

Plastic surgeon and lead author Dr Steven J Kronowitz comments, “Our controlled study shows that, used as part of breast reconstruction, lipofilling is a safe procedure that does not increase the risk of recurrent or new breast cancers.”

The researchers used a plastic surgery database to analyse a series of more than 1,000 partial or total mastectomies followed by breast reconstruction with lipofilling. Around 30 percent of cases involved risk- reducing mastectomy in women at high genetic risk of breast cancer.

Recurrent and new breast cancer rates were then compared with a similar group of women who underwent mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction without lipofilling. It was found that the rate of locoregional recurrence, in the breast and the surrounding area, was not significantly different between groups: 1.3 percent for women who had lipofilling versus 2.4 percent in those who did not.

Furthermore, rates of systematic cancer recurrence were similar as well: 2.4 percent with lipofilling versus 3.6 percent without. None of the women undergoing preventive mastectomy developed initial (primary) breast cancer.

The results showed no increase in the risk of locoregional or systemic recurrence in women with breast cancer who undergo breast reconstruction with lipofilling. The study also found no evidence that lipofilling affects the risk of initial breast cancer for the growing number of high-risk women undergoing “preventive” mastectomy.

“Our results provide new evidence that lipofilling, used in breast reconstruction, is a safe procedure that does not increase the risk of recurrent or new breast cancer after mastectomy,” Dr Kronowitz comments.

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