Safety of fat grafting in secondary breast reconstruction after cancer

M. Rietjens, F. De Lorenzi, F. Rossetto, F. Brenelli, A. Manconi, S. Martella, M. Intra, M. Venturino, V. Lohsiriwat, Y. Ahmed, J. Y. Petit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Fat grafting is largely used to correct soft-tissue defects in any region of the human body. This study analysed its safety when the technique is used to correct defects after breast-cancer reconstruction. Methods: A total of 158 patients who underwent 194 breast fat grafting procedures were analysed. Almost all patients (98%) had a personal history of breast cancer: conservative surgery or mastectomy with breast reconstruction. In all cases, fat grafting was performed according to the Coleman's technique by a single surgeon. Results: Immediate complications included liponecrosis and infection in seven cases (3.6%) that required only daily dressings and oral antibiotics administration. In cases of fat grafting after conservative surgery, only four patients (5.9%) showed minor alterations in the postoperative mammograms, consisting of the appearance of benign images. Conclusion: Breast fat grafting can be a good solution to repair defects after breast-cancer treatment and reconstruction, and can reduce the indication for more extensive surgeries such as myocutaneous flaps. Postoperative complication rates are very low and there is little alteration in follow-up mammograms. Two points remain unclear - How much of the fat is absorbed after grafting and the potential risk of local 'dormant' tumour cells being stimulated to induce a local recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-484
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • Autologous fat injection
  • Breast
  • Breast reconstructive surgery
  • Coleman technique
  • Conservative treatment
  • surgical complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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