40% of the women who have undergone mastectomy, i.e. the removal of the breast following breast cancer, suffer from the so-called Post Mastectomy Pain Syndrome (PMPS). A pain that is located between the armpit and the arm, near the scar that is caused by the operation, that often does not allow to overcome a trauma that is quite difficult to overcome for many women and compromises their quality of life, forcing them to consume painkillers, anti-inflammatories and antidepressants.
The study by Prof. Marco Klinger in Humanitas
A study conducted at Humanitas by Prof. Marco Klinger, Head of the Plastic Surgery Operations Unit, on 113 patients shows that the autologous transplantation of fat decreases the painful syndrome that follows the mastectomy by one third. In a quick and minimally invasive way, life returns to normal conditions.
The study was also published in the journal “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal”, one of the most prestigious plastic surgery magazines in the world.
According to the professor’s studies and observations, “fat autotransplantation has proved to be very effective, indeed exciting: after an autotransplant, the pain in patients with PMPS has decreased by 3.23 on a scale of 10 – explained the professor -. The improvement remains constant over time.
Lipofilling: a minimally invasive operation, from the esthetic to the reconstructive surgery
In this study,” explained Klinger, “we used the same technique, lipofilling, which is very successful in the field of esthetics and reconstruction. Autotransplantation is a minimally invasive and painless treatment, indicated for those patients who have already undergone demanding treatments.
The operation is performed with the patient under local anesthesia: after centrifuging and filtering, a small amount of fat is taken from the abdomen or hips and injected into an area for treatment and filling.
In addition to its aesthetic applications, the lipofilling technique is also used in reconstructive surgery to improve scar tissue after severe burns, but also – like in this case – for filling in the voids left by a tumor.
“For women operated by breast cancer, the infiltration of fat occurs in the area of the scar – explained the professor -. The results of the study, which involved 113 women, are very positive, but there is obviously still much to investigate,” including the source of the pain of the post-mastectomy syndrome.
“Thanks to the adult stem cells that are present in the fat, the adipose graft helps to reduce the chronic inflammation state. In addition – concluded Klinger – as has been noted several times, there is a major remodeling of the scar, resulting in softer and less visible”.