Fat grafting of the breasts is a technique often used to make augmented breasts look more natural. It can also be used to add fullness to the breasts instead of breast implants. Currently, no evidence exists to support or refute that fat grafting is safer than implants.
Fat grafting, also called autologous fat transfer, is the removal of fat from one area of the body to inject it into another area of the body. Typically fat is removed from the hips, thighs, or abdomen to be placed into the face or hands to make them appear more youthful. Fat grafting of the breast can also be performed, though results have been mixed as to its success, according to an article by American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Many patients believe that repositioning their own fat is safer or more natural than having implants. The truth is that fat grafting of the breasts has its own challenges. The newly positioned fat can calcify and be mistaken for breast cancer or it can obscure breast cancer. This is less likely with advancements in how the fat is placed and also improvements in breast cancer screening equipment.
Fat grafted into the breast may not last. It could be reabsorbed by the body or turn into cysts. Scar tissue may also develop. However, there are very few complications associated with the fat grafting surgery itself.
Fat grafting can be beneficial if performed properly and if the repositioned fat survives. Fat can be grafted into augmented breasts to make them appear more natural, especially in very thin women. Implants often cause visible rippling of the skin. Adding fat can hide rippling. Fat grafting can also enhance the appearance of breasts after breast reconstruction.
When fat grafting is used instead of implants, the breast size can usually only be increased by a cup size at the most. There is no guarantee that all of the injected fat will survive. Seven to 14 ounces of fat are injected into the breast for enhancement.
The results of any cosmetic surgery may vary from patient to patient. If considering fat grafting of the breast, consult with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon to discuss options for breast enhancement. At this time, fat grafting of the breast can be performed but is still undergoing evaluation by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.