For the many women who are affected by breast cancer, the loss of a breast is a serious concern. Thanks to advances by plastic surgeons, current reconstructive procedures can result in a natural looking breast for most women. But even when the breast is not removed, but only the cancer is excised (as in a lumpectomy), a breast deformity can result, particularly if there is radiation treatment involved.
For actress Suzanne Somers, breast cancer treatment resulted in one breast being a D-cup, and the other breast being a B-cup. Typically, her options to achieve similar sized breasts would have included:
- Making the larger breast smaller with a breast reduction
- Making the smaller breast bigger by using a breast implant
- Reconstructing the smaller breast with a piece of her own living tissue (called a flap)
However, a new option is using a patients own fat cells taken from one part of the body and injecting them in to the breast that needs to be larger. While this may be a good option for many patients, it is not for everyone. Furthermore, some surgeons are promoting a “stem cell” breast reconstruction which takes advantage of the normal stem cells found in fat. As in the case of Suzanne Somers, there is little scientific data to support this stem cell procedure and no evidence that the result will be any better than just fat injections alone.
“Despite the recent position statement on stem cell treatments by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there are still those who promote stem cell use without educating patients about the lack of proof that stem cell treatments offer any benefit over regular treatments. Although stem cell treatments offer great potential in plastic surgery, the advantages have yet to be proven and risks are not known. To learn more about the current state of stem cell treatments in plastic surgery, click on the link below.”
Karol A. Gutowski, M.D.
- Source: Washington Post
- Copyright: Karol A. Gutowski, M.D., Chicago, IL, 2012