Validated Outcomes in the Grafting of Autologous Fat to the Breast: The VOGUE Study. Development of a Core Outcome Set for Research and Audit

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2018 May;141(5):633e-638e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000004273.


Background: Autologous fat grafting is an important part of the reconstructive surgeon's toolbox when treating women affected by breast cancer and subsequent tumor extirpation. The debate over safety and efficacy of autologous fat grafting continues within the literature. However, work performed by the authors' group has shown significant heterogeneity in outcome reporting. Core outcome sets have been shown to reduce heterogeneity in outcome reporting. The authors' goal was to develop a core outcome set for autologous fat grafting in breast reconstruction.

Methods: The authors published their protocol a priori. A Delphi consensus exercise among key stakeholders was conducted using a list of outcomes generated from their previous work. These outcomes were divided into six domains: oncologic, clinical, aesthetic and functional, patient-reported, process, and radiologic.

Results: In the first round, 55 of 78 participants (71 percent) completed the Delphi consensus exercise. Consensus was reached on nine of the 13 outcomes. The clarity of the results and lack of additional suggested outcomes deemed further rounds to be unnecessary.

Conclusions: The VOGUE Study has led to the development of a much-needed core outcome set in the active research front and clinical area of autologous fat grafting. The authors hope that clinicians will use this core outcome set to audit their practice, and that researchers will implement these outcomes in their study design and reporting of autologous fat grafting outcomes. The authors encourage journals and surgical societies to endorse and encourage use of this core outcome set to help refine the scientific quality of the debate, the discourse, and the literature.

Clinical question/level of evidence: Therapeutic, V.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / transplantation*
  • Autografts / transplantation*
  • Breast / transplantation*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Consensus
  • Delphi Technique
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty / adverse effects*
  • Mammaplasty / methods
  • Mastectomy / adverse effects
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Surgery, Plastic / organization & administration
  • Surgery, Plastic / standards
  • Transplantation, Autologous / adverse effects
  • Transplantation, Autologous / methods
  • Treatment Outcome