Breast enhancement surgeries such as breast augmentations that involve injecting fat taken from other parts of the body is an increasingly popular alternative to breast implants and traditional lifts here in Newport Beach and elsewhere. A few studies however, have unveiled some new concerns that the fat injected into the breast may interfere with mammogram readings for breast cancer screenings.
The concern is that when fat is injected into the breast for enhancement surgeries, calcifications develop and may be mistaken for cancer on mammograms. While one study concluded that radiologists were unlikely to mistake the calcifications for cancer, another stated that women may undergo unnecessary biopsies or other procedures if the calcifications were deemed “highly suspicious”.
Fat injections used for breast enhancement are often referred to as lipomodeling, lipoinjection, or fat grafting. This form of breast enhancement is still somewhat controversial and because of its popularity here in Newport Beach and across the world, surgeons are performing them without significant experience with the procedure and its outcomes.
After having a breast enhancement procedure with fat injections, calcifications appear to be caused by injected fat cells that die and clump together. The clustered calcifications seem to be indistinguishable on mammograms from those associated with breast cancer, and one study concluded that fat injections should not be used for cosmetic breast augmentation. However, a more recent study states that the prior study is flawed and that radiologists can easily distinguish these calcifications from breast cancer especially if the patient remembers to inform the mammogram staff that she’s had breast enhancement with fat injections.
Trauma and other breast enhancement procedures can also result in fat necrosis and calcifications within the breast, and there are cases with very early calcifications that may mimic breast cancer, but if the radiologist knows a women has had a breast enhancement procedure they will take that into consideration when making their interpretation of the mammogram. After some time these calcifications tend to look like more typical fat necrosis according to radiologists.
As with any procedure, it’s important to choose your plastic surgeon carefully. Women who are considering fat injections for breast enhancement need to be very careful about choosing a surgeon who has experience and familiarity with fat injections. First always start with a surgeon board-certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery. It is also best to choose one who has performed at least 20 fat injection procedures. Furthermore, avoid plastic surgeons who do not take questions about the risks seriously.
If you live in the Newport Beach area and are interested in breast enhancement procedures contact our office today. Dr. Sajjadian is the best breast surgeon in Newport Beach and knows you will be happy with his results!