Mastectomy patients may regrow breasts | world | Hindustan Times
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Mastectomy patients may regrow breasts

Australian scientists have developed a surgical technique that may allow cancer-suffering women to regrow breasts after having a mastectomy, with human trials planned to start within three to six months.

world Updated: Nov 13, 2009 02:35 IST
Michael Perry

Australian scientists have developed a surgical technique that may allow cancer-suffering women to regrow breasts after having a mastectomy, with human trials planned to start within three to six months.

The procedure involves inserting a breast-shaped chamber, containing a sample of the woman’s fat tissue, under the chest skin. A blood vessel is then connected to the fat tissue allowing it to grow to fill the chamber within six to eight months.

The Melbourne-based Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery, which pioneered the procedure, said on Thursday that it hopes to develop a biodegradable chamber within 24 months, which would mean the chamber would dissolve once filled.

“We are starting what is called a prototype trial in the next three to six months — a proof of principle trial with about five to six women just to demonstrate that the body can regrow its own fat supply in the breast,” Dr Phillip Marzella, the institute's chief operating officer, told local radio.

He said the procedure relies on the body's own behaviour of filling internal voids, but a gel-like substance can also be injected to stimulate fat growth.

The women in the trial have had a mastectomy or partial mastectomy, but there remains a defect or asymmetry issue with their breasts. The trial will not seek to grow a whole breast, but grow fat in the defected area to prove the procedure is viable, said an Institute report on the procedure.

The regenerative procedure could be used to help restore other damaged body parts, he said.