Fat transfer of the breasts is a technique often used to make breast augmentation results look more natural. It can also be used to add fullness to the breasts instead of breast implants.
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 transfer for breast augmentation can also be performed to add a youthful but subtle fullness to the breasts.
Many patients believe that repositioning their own fat is safer or more natural than having implants. Currently, no evidence exists to support or refute that fat transfer is safer than implants for breast augmentation, but it is an alternative for patients who prefer not to have synthetic material implanted. The truth is that fat transfer for breast augmentation has its own challenges. The newly positioned fat can calcify and be mistaken for breast cancer or it can obscure breast cancer during a mammogram. These mishaps are less likely with advancements in how the fat is placed and also improvements in breast cancer screening equipment.
There are very few complications associated with the fat transfer breast augmentation surgery itself. The process is straightforward. Fat is taken from another part of the body via liposuction, processed, and then injected into the breasts. Fat grafted into the breast may be temporary. It could be reabsorbed by the body or turn into cysts. Scar tissue may also develop.
Fat transfer for breast augmentation 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 without much existing breast tissue. Implants often cause visible rippling of the skin in thin patients. Adding fat can hide rippling. Fat transfer can also help breast reconstruction results look more natural.
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. For this reason, fat transfer breast augmentation is best suited for women who desire a subtle change.
The results of any cosmetic surgery may vary from patient to patient. If considering fat transfer for breast augmentation, consult with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon to learn if you are a good candidate for this surgery. At this time, fat transfer for breast augmentation is undergoing further evaluation by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.