For many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, a mastectomy is a necessary part of their treatment plan. The loss of one or both breasts is difficult to manage emotionally, and breast reconstruction helps patients to feel whole again and begin the tough task of emotional healing. Previously, breast implants were the only option but now a new system for fat grafting is giving patients the alternative of using their own natural fat for reconstruction.
Fat transfer is a simple concept. Fat is removed from an area such as the stomach or thighs and is then prepared and filtered. PureGraft from Cytori is a filtering device which prepares the suctioned fat for injection. The system allows a physician to purify a fat graft and remove excess 'graft fluid' in a controllable, sterile manner. The fat is added to the system and 15 minutes later, excess tissues such as blood cells and tumescent chemicals are removed and the fat is ready for injection.
Breast reconstruction is a somewhat different procedure than breast augmentation because the breasts have to be completely rebuilt. According to the American Cancer Society, there are several methods that may be used for reconstruction. The procedure may be done at the same time as the mastectomy or may be performed later. In some cases, the skin and chest wall may be tight and an expander is needed to prepare the skin for a breast implant.
Many women who have endured the trauma of breast cancer prefer a natural option so that foreign implants aren't needed. The unique speed and sterile preparation offered by PureGraft makes fat transfer a more viable choice for breast reconstruction. Older methods of purifying fat could take an hour or more and cutting that down to 15 minutes makes the procedure much simpler.