07 Jul Breast Calcification That Interferes With Cancer Screenings After Fat Grafting
A Downside Of Fat Grafting Breast Augmentation
Fat grafting is a breast augmentation technique that’s quickly growing in popularity. The process uses liposuction to transfer fat from one body area to the breasts. When strategically placed, women can experience subtle increases in cup size. Despite the natural benefits, there are challenges to fat grafting. One concern is the hardening of fat deposits, called breast calcification. This potential side effect can impact future breast screenings, posing a danger to patients.
What is breast calcification?
Fat is extracted from the hips, trunk, or abdomen and injected into the breasts. Fat cells need sufficient blood flow to survive, which is not present in the breasts. The body is expected to reabsorb some fat, with approximately 70% of the transferred fat remaining viable. However, some fat cells die, a process called fat necrosis. The fat turns into oily lumps, calcifies, and stays in the breasts. Calcification is common in patients that require multiple fat transfers.
Is breast calcification a bad thing?
Breast calcification can lead to lumps in the breast. Some women experience other side effects, including uneven breast size, discoloration, and general discomfort. In some cases, these nodules can be painful, reducing the satisfaction of the procedure.
The dangers of cancer screening
These lumps can cause challenges to breast screening and produce inaccurate results on mammograms. The medical team may assume that breast calcification is a possible tumor. Inversely, a potential tumor may be missed as the shape of the growth can look the same as a fat deposit. Typical breast implants are easily identifiable under imaging scans and lead to more accurate results.
Is there a solution to breast calcification?
Women with breast calcification should consult a board-certified plastic surgeon. The surgeon will make an individualized assessment and decide a course of treatment. Some women may need additional surgery to remove the remaining hard lumps. The surgeon will use ultrasound to detect the nodes, then break up or remove each one. In some cases, women may need additional fat transfers to restore shape and fullness to the breast.
Consider an alternative
Fat transfer has the appeal of a natural source of increasing breast size while reducing fat in other areas. However, most women will need multiple procedures for the best results. In addition, these fat transfers increase the chances of calcification. For future breast screenings, these fat deposits can create inaccurate results. Women looking to increase breast size should consider implants. Silicone or saline implants provide the desired look without the danger of breast calcification.