Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
A traditional breast augmentation is a surgical procedure designed to enhance the size, shape and texture of the female breasts by means of saline or silicone implants. An alternative to implants is a fat transfer, or fat grafting, breast augmentation, where the filler used to increase breast volume is the patient’s own fat, harvested by liposuction from another area of the body, such as the thighs or abdomen.
Fat transfer techniques are also recommended for breast reconstructions following mastectomy, and to disguise the rippling effect that can sometimes occur in existing saline or silicone implants.
Fat transfer Breast Augmentation Advantages
A fat transfer breast augmentation has a number of advantages over traditional breast augmentation with implants. Because the fat harvested is completely natural and autologous (comes from the patient’s own body), the risk of an adverse autoimmune reaction is virtually eliminated, as well as many of the complications associated with implants, such as shifting, rupture, leakage, and rippling. Furthermore, the fat harvesting procedure can serve a double function of sculpting and contouring the abdomen or lower body from which fat is harvested. When fat transfer techniques are used, the breasts are more easily shaped and sculpted than with traditional implants, which have a set shape. Incisions are minimal and the risk of scarring is dramatically reduced compared with traditional procedures. Fat transfer can even be used to fill in the space between the skin and existing saline or silicone implants in order to reduce the unpleasant rippling effect that can sometimes occur with traditional implants.
How are Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation Procedures Performed?
A fat transfer breast augmentation actually encompasses two procedures: the harvesting of fat, and the insertion of fat into the breasts. A substantial amount of fat is harvested, usually by liposuction, from the abdomen or thighs. The fat is processed in a centrifuge to remove any unwanted oil, blood, or water and inserted through tiny incisions in the breast.
Because fat transfer breast augmentation is a more sensitive and delicate procedure, it can typically take longer than a traditional breast augmentation. Fat tissue is fragile and must be harvested gently, and fat must be optimally placed in order to create a natural appearance, as well as to allow the fat the best chance to survive and prevent reabsorption. The total procedure, including harvesting and placement, typically takes between 3-4 hours. Patients are cautioned that the fat transfer should only be performed by a highly qualified certified surgeon with experience in the techniques involved, as the procedure is highly technique-dependent and satisfactory results are difficult to obtain in the hands of an inexperienced surgeon. The procedure is usually preformed under general anaesthetic, both for the harvest site and the placement site, and patients are usually discharged the same day. In some cases, local anaesthetic may be used. Recovery time is minimal, and patients can normally return to work within a week following the procedure. Some mild bruising, swelling, and tenderness are to be expected at both the harvest site and the placement site but should subside within a few days.
Risks & Complications
Like any surgical procedure, fat transfer breast augmentation does carry some risks, including those associated with scarring, bleeding, infection and anaesthesia. However, because the procedure is minimally invasive and performed under local anaesthesia many of these risks are minimized and in some cases eliminated. Some serious risks specific to the procedure include fat necrosis, microcalcification (the formation of calcified lumps), and cysts, but their incidence is extremely rare.
Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation Pros & Cons
Patients generally report high rates of satisfaction following fat transfer breast augmentation, which produces breasts that are often softer and more natural-looking than breasts augmented with implants. Over time, the implanted fat will become a natural part of your breasts. Furthermore, while some reabsorption is always possible, results are generally permanent, unlike traditional implants, which almost always need to be replaced. Your surgeon may “overcorrect” and implant slightly more fat than necessary in the interest of preserving maximum postoperative volume. While fat transfer techniques cannot mimic the dramatic volume increases of large implants, they are often a more natural-looking solution for women looking for a more subtle augmentation. It is important to note that some women are not good candidates for the procedure, such as those with very little harvestable body fat. Furthermore, patients are advised that because the implanted fat will become a natural part of your body, any drastic weight changes following the procedure may reduce the size of your breasts.
Book a Consult!
If you have experienced a loss of volume due to aging or weight loss or notice slight breast asymmetry, fat transfer breast augmentation may be an option for subtly augmenting and reshaping your breasts. Ultimately, the success of a fat transfer breast augmentation depends on the expertise and skill of your surgeon, which is why it is important to be selective about who performs your procedure. At Clinic 360, you can rest assured that only the most experienced, qualified surgeons are available from your initial consultation through to your follow-up visits in order to help you achieve an optimal result.