The aim of our systematic meta-analysis was to find out if lipofilling to the breast alters follow-up imaging procedures and leads to an increased number of biopsies because of suspicious findings.
We conducted a systematic meta-analysis of the literature including all prospective and retrospective studies focusing on imaging outcomes in patients with a history of breast cancer who have received one or more lipofilling procedures after oncologic surgery to the breast.
Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria, comprising 1711 patients and at least 2261 lipofilling procedures. 564 patients (33%) were followed up only with ultrasound, 735 patients (43%) only received mammography, 273 (16%) had a combination of ultrasound, mammography and MRI, and 37 patients (2.1%) were followed up via ultrasound and mammography. A collective of 102 patients making up a matched-cohort study received ultrasound, mammography, MRI, and PET/CT, while only 51 of them made up the investigation group who had autologous fat grafting (3%). Biopsy rates were 1%-24% with a medium of 6.5% over all groups. Medium follow-up was 18.8 months (range 6-50 months). The rate of local oncologic events among the patients with lipofilling procedures detected during the study periods was 0.7%.
Lipofilling to the breast after oncologic operations appears to be a safe procedure with overall low biopsy and local recurrence rate. Suspicious imaging occurs in most cases out of physiologic remodeling and inflammation processes at the operation site and needs to be distinguished from malignant focusses. The amount of required biopsies stands in relation to the used imaging method and the time to follow-up.