Brava And Fat Grafting: A New Technique For Breast Reconstruction

There is an interesting article in MSNBC.com that describes a new technique for reconstructing breasts in women who’ve undergone mastectomy for breast cancer.  Brava / AFT (Autologous Fat Transfer) was recently described in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons) as a safe and effective technique for breast reconstruction.  Basically, it involves use of the Brava breast enhancing device with surgical fat grafting (taking fat from the tummy or the thighs and injecting it into the breasts).  The Brava device is, quite simply, a pair of large domed suction cups that produce a vaccuum deal to suction the breasts larger.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Roger Khouri is the lead author of the paper.  He’s reconstructed breasts on more than 200 women using Brava/AFT.  According to Dr. Khouri, “The holy grail of tissue engineering is a vascular scaffold — a capillary network. The Brava creates the scaffold by pulling on the tissue from the outside. Then liposuctioned fat fills that scaffold with cells. We’re regenerating an organ without any incision, without any foreign object, without any chemicals.”

This is an intriguing concept for breast reconstruction, but I wouldn’t advise patients to jump to this option just yet.  There are still some unanswered questions, in my opinion, that must be answered prior to wide-spread acceptance of this procedure.  Some questions include:

1. We are learning that fat is chock-full of stem cells.  Could the stem cells present in injected fat increase the risk of cancer recurrence?

2. What are any long-term mammographic changes that can occur with this treatment?  Not just one year, but several years down the line?

3. Insurances aren’t likely to pay for the Brava device, and currently only modestly pay for fat grafting to the breasts.  Will health insurance ever cover this procedure?

For more information on this intriguing new technique for breast reconstruction, read the MSNBC.com article HERE.

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Posted in: Plastic Surgery News

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