Focus of the Report: Autologous fat grafting (AFG) is used as an adjunct or primary breast reconstruction procedure in women following breast cancer surgery.

Technology Description: AFG is a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes a patient’s own body fat to fill and correct volume loss or contour deformities of the breast caused by surgical tumor removal and/or breast reconstruction procedures. The procedure involves harvesting fat from the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, or flank; processing the harvested fat to remove blood, oil, and debris; and injecting the processed fat into the target breast area(s).

Controversy: The use of AFG for breast reconstruction after breast cancer surgery remains controversial due to concerns that filling a former tumor bed with regenerative cells could theoretically increase the risk of cancer recurrence and that the procedure may hinder breast cancer imaging. In addition, there is a lack of long-term strong comparative evidence demonstrating oncologic safety and patient satisfaction with aesthetic outcomes.

Key Questions:

  • Is AFG for breast reconstruction after breast cancer surgery safe?

  • Does AFG produce desirable cosmetic and aesthetic results?

  • How does AFG compare to alternative treatments?

  • Have specific patient selection criteria been identified for the use of AFG for breast cancer reconstruction after breast cancer surgery?

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