The increasing utility of the Lipoflap Fat Transfer Procedure (LAFT) in Breast Reconstruction

Providing the Best in Natural Breast Reconstruction to Orlando & nearby areas of Florida

Sun, 01/26/2014

Increasingly I am using the Lipoflap Autologous Fat Transfer (LAFT) procedure to help patients with unsatisfactory breast reconstruction results after breast cancer reconstruction. The most frequent use of this procedure is to improve or salvage the outcome after breast implant and expander reconstruction procedures. In the United States, the most common method of breast reconstruction after mastectomy is the placement of a tissue expander, with subsequent expansion, and then final implant placement.  Less frequently this procedure may be combined with a latissimus dorsi muscle flap procedure to provide better tissue coverage over the expander and implant.

Even in the best of circumstances, expander placement and expansion results in thinning of the skin over the expander as the expander is inflated, just as the skin of a ballon gets thinner as a balloon is blown up. When the final implant is placed, the result is an implant that is only covered by a thin layer of skin. In almost every case, one can feel the implant easily under the skin. Other problems that occur with varying frequency are uneven implant position, obliteration of the space between the breasts, rippling, capsular contracture or hardening, uncomfortable temperature changes of the breast area, and pain. In most cases there is also little or no sensation of the overlying skin. When radiation therapy is added to the situation, the incidence of these problems skyrockets. It is my impression, that the incidence of at least some capsular contracture or hardening for patients with implants who have had radiation therapy, is close to 100%.

The concept of the LAFT procedure is to use fat transfer to thicken and improve the quality of the tissue and skin overlying breast implants. This process can be used in almost every situation where there is insufficient skin thickness and / or poor skin and tissue quality. Fat transfer is performed using established micrografting techniques, placing the fat into the tissue overlying the implant, increasing tissue thickness and restoring tissue quality. The process can be repeated until the tissues are adequately restored, or continued until the breast has been completely restored with fat and the implants can be downsized or removed.

Advantages of the LAFT procedure include:

  • Immediate improvement in the natural look and feel of the breasts
  • Correction of capsular contracture (hardening) and implant malposition
  • Improvement and resolution of pain and discomfort of the breasts
  • The ability to remove the implants altogether if desired
  • Restoration of sensation to the overlying skin

The LAFT procedure can be used as the main procedure for breast reconstruction, prior to placing an expander or implant. The benefit of the LAFT procedure prior to placing an expander or implant, is that the final reconstruction will provide much better tissue thickness and quality over the implant.

Of course all the benefits of scarless procedures using only small needle fat micrografting procedures apply to the LAFT procedure. The LAFT procedure can even be used to improve the results of cosmetic breast implant procedures, in cases of capsular contracture, implant rippling, or to improve breast shape and cleavage.

For more information about the Lipoflap Autologous Fat Transfer (LAFT) procedure, contact us at the Breast Center at the Bougainvillea Clinique


4355 Bear Gully Road
Winter Park, FL 32792