Forty-nine-year-old Susan McLain of the Chicago area underwent a double mastectomy and was treated with chemotherapy and radiation. The radiation and the removal of her lymph nodes and breast tissue left divots in her skin even after the breast reconstructive procedure.
A multidisciplinary team at Loyola University Health System near Chicago implanted tissue expanders to prepare for reconstructive surgery using silicone breast implants. The plastic surgeons performed an additional procedure -- a fat transfer -- on McLain, removing fat from her stomach via liposuction, concentrating it and transferring it to the area around her implants to improve the symmetry of the result.
"I look great now," McLain said in a statement. "I am thrilled with the outcome. You would never know that I had cancer."
Dr. Victor Cimino, a board-certified plastic surgeon at Loyola University Health System, said fat transfers are becoming increasingly popular following breast reconstructive surgery, but the procedure also can be used to rejuvenate and add fullness to the face, hands and lips.
"Radiation and surgery can damage the appearance of the breast," Cimino said. "Women who undergo a fat transfer tend to appreciate that their own tissue is being used to naturally enhance the look and feel of their breasts after reconstructive surgery."