More women choosing fat transplant over breast implants
A growing number of women are using their own body fat for breast surgery following a widespread ban on select implants sold in Australia, a leading cosmetic surgeon has said.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) last month issued a six month ban for eight types of breast implants that might have links to a rare blood cancer.
Australian cosmetic surgeon Dr Vivek Eranki told nine.com.au the ban, and the negative commentary around the implants, is affecting women's breast surgery options.
Dr Eranki, who owns and practises at Australian clinic Cosmetique, said one in 20 of his patients opted for fat transplant surgery prior to the TGA ban. He believes this figure will now rise.
However, Monash University School of Public Health associate professor, Dr Ken Harvey, said the six-month ban would allow the TGA to make "definitive" decisions based on data and real-life experience of patients.
"The principle of banning for some time and making informed data is not unreasonable," Dr Harvey said.
Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) president associate professor Dr Gazi Hussain said 20 years ago, surgeons were not advised to do fat transfers for breast surgery because of a perceived increase in risk of cancer and scar tissue.
Data from the ASPS found highly textured or macro-textured implants have a one in 10,000 risk of breast cancer. In the case of micro-textured implants, it is one in 50,000 risk of cancer.
"The experience from the rest of the world suggests it is a safe procedure," Dr Hussain told nine.com.au.
While the fat transfer procedure has been performed more in Europe, he said it has become increasingly more popular in Australia. The total cost of the surgery varies from $5,000 to $20,000.
"In the last five to ten years, fat grafting has become more commonly performed in Australia," Dr Hussain said.
"Doctors are generally for it. At this stage we believe it is a safe procedure."
But Dr Hussain said it was important to understand fat transfer breast surgery and breast implant surgery were not interchangeable.
"Fat transfer is not a direct alternative to a breast implant," he said.
"It's unlikely that fat grafting would provide more than a one-cup size increase."
Dr Eranki agreed, saying women should only have the fat transfer treatment if "something is really, really bothering them".
He said for a fat transfer, the patient can expect quicker recovery, experience less pain, and feel more natural.
"Up until a certain point for size, (the outcome of either procedure) would look very, very similar," Dr Eranki said.
Dr Harvey said consumers should ask their surgeon to contribute to the Australian Breast Device Register (ABDR) to learn more about their procedures.
"The surgeon should tell (patients) about the risks about different sorts of implants," he said.
"No procedure or drug use is without risk."The ABDR, a world-first health initiative led by Monash University, has more than 43,800 registered patients as of mid-October this year.
It is designed to track patient health outcomes, monitor the long-term safety and performance of breast devices and benchmark the quality of surgery, including those for breast implants.
The register is supported by the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons and Breast Surgeons of Australia and New Zealand.