Last weekend I attended an excellent plastic surgery conference in New York City. The meeting was entitled; Breast Reconstruction – State of the Art. The meeting was held at New York University School of Medicine. It was great to be back at NYU, my medical school alma mater, for this exciting multidisciplinary meeting. It was also nostalgic for me, as I sat in the same lecture halls for this meeting, as I had about 25 years ago for many of my medical school classes.
 
I had the pleasure of attending this meeting with Dr. Mary Barnhart. Dr. Barnhart is a breast surgical oncologist, who treats woman with breast cancer and other diseases of the breast. Dr. Barnhart and I have been collaborating on developing new reconstructive techniques in breast surgery and decided to attend this meeting together. This was a great opportunity to experience an in-depth review of all of the latest techniques to reconstruct the breast after breast cancer surgery.
 
The first day of the meeting was a nice mix of presentations from surgical oncologists, plastic surgeons, a radiation therapist, and a medical oncologist. From a reconstructive standpoint, the first day was mostly focused on reconstruction of partial breast defects caused by lumpectomy surgery. In addition, a number of excellent lecturers covered total reconstruction of the breast with implants following mastectomy.
 
The second day addressed many other reconstructive techniques. Most of the techniques presented involved using the patient’s own tissue to reconstruct the breast. Indeed, the morning session involved the observation via close circuit television of a breast reconstruction surgery that was occurring live in the operating room at the adjacent hospital. In that operation, a mastectomy was first performed and then tissue was immediately transplanted from the abdomen to the chest to reconstruct the breast. This surgery involved the deep inferior epigastric perforator flap and was performed by one of the inventors of the technique. It was a thrill to watch and listen while this master surgeon performed this complex reconstruction.
 
Throughout the breast reconstruction lecture, breast fat grafting was often discussed as an option for filling partial and large breast defects. On the second day, there was a great deal of time devoted to the use of fat for breast reconstruction. The use of fat for total breast reconstruction was highlighted with an amazing talk and case examples by Dr. Roger Khouri. Dr. Khouri is one of the fathers of total breast reconstruction with fat and has led the innovation of using the Brava external breast expander to facilitate breast fat grafting. Dr. Khouri also showed a number of beautiful examples of breast augmentation with fat grafting. As I have mentioned before in this blog, breast fat grafting is a central interest in my practice. It was invigorating to see the wonderful results that can be achieved using the patient’s own fat for breast reconstruction.
 
Overall, the meeting served as an outstanding update of the current techniques that are available to breast cancer patients for their reconstruction. I expect to be using many of the techniques that were reviewed with our reconstructive patients in the future, especially those pursuing fat grafting for reconstruction. I will provide an update on our experience with breast fat grafting for reconstruction in the near future.

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