A new form of liposuction is being used to help cancer patients have breast reconstruction after surgery. Ten patients at Singleton Hospital in Swansea had fat taken from around their stomach or thighs and processed with a new machine.
It was then re-injected into their body after the original removal of a tumour from the breast. The new procedure is less invasive than traditional reconstruction which involves a major operation.
Samantha Ward-Jones, 39, who wanted to repair damage from the removal of a tumour from her breast two years ago, was the first of the patients at Singleton to have the treatment.
“To be able to be part of something so new and so revolutionary was just very exciting,” said Ms Ward-Jones. “I felt it was the end of a bad period in my life and something positive.”
“It was a very hard thing to have breast cancer and have the operation and have the tumour removed,” she added.
According to consultant oncoplastic surgeon Nader Khonji, the new technique has a higher success rate because of the innovative use of stem and regenerative cells from the fat.
“The fat that’s removed is put into the machine for processing,” Mr Khonji explained. “This machine uses a special enzyme to break down the tissue and spins it to concentrate the stem cells – the crucial cells that contain growth factors for the new growth of blood vessels.”
If treatment of the first 10 patients continues to be successful, it is hoped that the new procedure can be developed further.