Fat Necrosis

Treatment of Fat Necrosis of the Breast

If the test results come back positive for fat necrosis, treatment is usually not required since the body can break down the fatty lump or oily cyst over time, and the fat necrosis eventually goes away by itself. On the other hand, surgery is usually not recommended (if possible) because there are chances that it can cause further fat necrosis.

But in instances where surgery cannot be avoided and has to be performed to remove the fat necrosis, an excision biopsy would be the go-to surgical procedure.  Some of the reasons for having surgery to remove the fat necrosis include:

  • Instances where the fat necrosis causes discomfort. For instance, if it’s uncomfortable and painful.
  • The diagnosis has not given ample information to clearly confirm its fat necrosis
  • The lump gets bigger over time
  • The lump doesn’t go away by itself

Excision Biopsy Surgery

An excision biopsy is a surgical procedure used to remove the dead or damaged fat tissue. This can be done under local or general anesthesia. After the removal of the dead/damaged tissue, they are taken to the laboratory for further examination under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.

After the surgery, the surgeon mostly uses dissolvable sutures, which will not need to be removed afterwards. If non-dissolvable stitches are used, they’ll need to be removed after 7 – 10 days post-surgery. This procedure can leave a scar, which will fade over time.

Vacuum assisted (VAC/VAB) excision biopsy

Vacuum assisted excision biopsy, which you might be offered, involves a process of removing the fat necrosis under local anesthesia, without having a full surgical procedure under general anesthesia.

During the procedure, a small cut is made on the skin on your breast whereby a probe, which is connected to a vacuum-like device is placed. The damaged/dead fat tissues are then suctioned by the vacuum through the hollow probe into a collecting chamber. The surgeon is usually guided by an ultrasound while performing the procedure. If you opt for this procedure, then surgery can be avoided.

Although vacuum assisted excision biopsy is considered minimally invasive, there might be bruising and some degree of discomfort after the procedure, which will last for a few days. This procedure might not affect the shape of the breast, but there might be a dent where the fat necrosis was.

Does Fat Necrosis of the Breast Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer?

Being diagnosed with any form of breast lump or breast condition can make one feel uneasy, thinking they are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer. Fortunately, fat necrosis does not increase the risk of developing breast cancer nor does it ‘eventually turn to breast cancer’. To stay breast aware, you should continue with the routine breast screening as usual, and if you are concerned about any changes that your breasts might have, it is recommended you visit your doctor at the earliest.

Next Steps

At King’s College Hospital London Dubai, our Breast Care Clinic caters to every type of breast cancer and breast conditions. If you are facing any kind of abnormal changes to your breast, regardless how small, get in touch for a consultation with one of our breast doctors. For more information on breast cancer and breast care, book an appointment below.

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