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'Love handles' repurposed for breast reconstruction in women without enough belly fat
Date:4/14/2010

A new technique using tissue from those below-the-waist "love handles" improves cosmetic breast reconstruction in slim, athletic cancer patients without adequate fat sources elsewhere, a small Johns Hopkins study has found. The method also turns out to be less complicated than other options for surgeons as well, the research shows.

Plastic and reconstructive surgeons from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine describe the procedure they developed in a paper published in the online version of the journal Microsurgery, based on experience from their work on cadavers and on 12 breast cancer patients over the course of a year.

"When implants aren't used, the most common technique for reconstructing breasts after a mastectomy is to make breast tissue from a flap of fat and skin from the abdominal region," says Ariel N. Rad, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of cosmetic surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and one of the study's leaders. "Thin, athletic women don't have enough tissue there. But even they often have some excess fatty tissue in that space between the hip and waist. For them, using those love handles is a new option."

Traditionally, the best alternative to the tummy-tuck option for such women has been a flap of skin and fat from the buttocks. While safe and effective, SGAP, named for the use of the superior gluteal artery perforator, is usually deforming (taking a large chunk of tissue from the buttocks flattens its usual rounded appearance), often requires follow-up surgery to reshape the buttocks, and provides surgeons with a piece of tissue whose blood vessel length often makes it difficult to connect to a vessel in the chest, Rad says.

Rad and his colleagues came up with the idea of using the love handles when they noticed a blood vessel underneath the buttocks while doing an SGAP procedure. They wondered if that blood vessel was fo
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Contact: Stephanie Desmon
sdesmon1@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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