Breast Reconstructive Surgery

A new study has found that the risk of ALCL (Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma), after breast reconstruction surgery is low. The condition has become more prevalent in recent years, largely due to the rise in textured implants. For this reason, many cancer patients who want to undergo breast reconstruction surgery are understandably worried about the risks.

The results of the new research provide much needed reassurance. So, what exactly did it reveal?

Understanding the latest study

The latest study was carried out in Columbia, and its goal was to provide women with accurate information about the risks of ALCL. Researchers used a national cancer registry to assess data from 57,000 women who had undergone implant reconstruction after a mastectomy. Each of the women underwent a follow up around 7 years after the procedure, with approximately 16,000 women followed over a 10-year period.

The study did find that women who had breast reconstructive implants had a higher risk of ALCL than women in general, it was established to be very low. For every 1 million people who undergo the procedure, just 0.3 experience ALCL.

Out of the 57,000 women included in the study, just five of them developed ALCL. This provides reassurance that the procedure is safe for those undergoing breast reconstruction.

The benefits of fat graft breast reconstruction

The reason ALCL cases have risen in recent years is due to textured implants. Thankfully, surgeons have a myriad of options available to them that don’t come with the same level of risks.

One type of breast reconstruction that is renowned for its safety is the fat graft technique. This is a natural method that uses your own body fat to reconstruct the breast. Medically referred to as autologous fat transfer, the procedure takes fat from another area of the body such as the thighs or buttocks and implants it into the breast.

The main benefits of a fat graft breast reconstruction include:

  • Fewer risks and complications
  • Natural look and feel
  • Lower risk of ALCL

As you are using your body’s own fat, there is less chance it will reject the reconstruction. An implant is a foreign body that the body may choose to reject, leading to a range of complications. Another benefit is that a fat graft reconstruction looks and feels a lot more natural than implants.

Are there risks and complications of a fat graft breast reconstruction?

There are very few complications and risks associated with a fat graft breast reconstruction. There is a small risk of infection, cysts, and necrosis. Your surgeon will assess your risk factors, and explain more about the potential complications you might experience. However, most patients experience no negative side effects after undergoing the procedure.

Although ALCL can be a risk with textured implants, there are alternative procedures you can undergo to help reconstruct the breast. When performed correctly, a breast reconstruction surgery can help to improve quality of life, and give you back your confidence.

To find out more about fat grafting breast reconstruction, book a consultation with Mr Horlock. He will be able to answer any questions you may have, as well as help determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure.