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Did You Know Liposuction Is Now Being Used For Breast Reconstructions?

Mastectomies or lumpectomies can drastically affect a woman's appearance

, and therefore their body image and self-esteem as well. Woman who've undergone them report a variety of emotional issues, including trouble feeling feminine and finding worth. They can lose their motivation for work or family, and may feel too self-conscious to be intimate, just at a time when they need support and love most of all.

However, in spite of all the negative effects, sometimes these surgeries are necessary to save a woman's life. If breast cancer goes too long unchecked, radical surgery is frequently the only answer.

Some women alleviate some of these negative effects by getting breast implants, but this can sometimes cause further emotional problems if it doesn't look right or feel natural enough. There are also potential health risks from implants if there is leakage or if the woman in question develops an allergy.

Other women--an increasing number of them, in fact--are turning to liposuction. Although the primary use for this surgery has been to remove unwanted fat, new techniques are allowing doctors to take fat removed from one area and transplant it into another. This procedure has been used in the past, but without the newer techniques it has been risky and problematic. Uneven absorption and survival of the implanted tissue has led to lumps, scars, ripples and calcifications in the target area. This has been especially bad news for transfers to the breasts, where these abnormalities can interfere with cancer detection through mammograms and self-tests. However, there is the suggestion that new techniques make it easier to keep the fat alive.

The new technique being developed uses stem cells to improve the survival rate of the transferred fat. In this procedure, a surgeon first performs a liposuction, using a hollow tube called a cannula to vacuum out the unwanted fat. Then, a part of the fat is put into a special machine that breaks the fat down and concentrates stem cells in it. This special mixture is then combined with additional fat from the body and injected into the breast to fill out the dents that a lumpectomy would leave behind.

The use of stem cells means that the injected fat can have a better chance at having an adequate blood supply, which thus means higher survival rates.

Although this procedure is currently mostly being used to treat lumpectomies, it is hoped that it will prove effective enough to be useable for reconstructions following mastectomies.

by: Christian Heftel
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Did You Know Liposuction Is Now Being Used For Breast Reconstructions?