MONDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Using liposuctioned fat for breast augmentation may be a viable alternative to implants for some women, according to a new study.
The use of fat injections for breast augmentation has been the subject of ongoing debate because of a lack of research and worries that the fat may calcify and obscure mammograms, be mistaken for cancer or be re-absorbed by the body.
The study included 50 women, aged 17 to 63, who had 55 fat-grafting procedures (five women were grafted twice) to their breasts with fat taken from their upper thighs and other areas. The patients were followed-up for between nine months and five years, with an average follow-up of three years.
The researchers found that the grafts didn't obscure mammography and that the women didn't have any suspicious breast masses, nodules or lesions that might interfere with cancer detection.
Among the other findings:
- Graft survival averaged 85 percent.
- The average increase in breast volume at six to 12 months was 210 milliliters.
- The procedure can be performed in 90 minutes.
The study was scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, held Oct. 23 to 27 in Seattle.
Another study scheduled for presentation at the meeting found that injecting fat into the breasts gives breast-lift patients a new option for improving breast size and shape, with a reduced risk of some of the complications associated with breast implants.
Many women who have breast lifts require some amount of augmentation to fill out their breasts. Breast implants are typically used in these cases.
This study included 46 women who received fat injections to their breasts after a breast lift. The fat was taken from the thigh, abdomen or other areas on the patient's body. After one year, all of the women had a significant improvement in breast size and shape, with no abnormalities in mammograms, the researchers said.
In 2008, more than 307,000 breast augmentations and more than 92,000 breast lifts were performed in the United States, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about cosmetic breast surgery.
SOURCE: American Society of Plastic Surgeons, news release, Oct. 24, 2009