It’s actually pretty simple. First, fat is collected during routine liposuction under local anesthesia from many body areas like the stomach, thighs and waist. Fat transfer breast augmentation is best combined with body contouring of the abdomen and waist. The skinnier the waist, the bigger the boobs look!
The liposuction fat is gently collected into a sterile container so it can safely be transferred back. The tumescent anesthesia fluid used during the liposuction is then drained off. The remaining fat is then carefully injected into the breasts using small cannulas to increase volume. The fat is transferred in small droplets in multiple layers to gradually increase the size of the breasts. The key is to promote the take of the fat cells in their new location. Not all of the transferred fat will survive, but a large percentage of it will. Since the breasts already contain a large amount of fat, the transferred fat will produce a larger and natural looking breast.
Breast fat transfer is best for patients who once had larger breasts that have now deflated. Fat transfer of the breast is a filling procedure. So the best candidates have enough space to be filled with fat. This is most common in women that have breastfed or experienced weight loss. Patients can expect up to 1-1.5 cups size increase, sometime more or less. Patients seeking more than a cup size increase will require breast implants. Patients with smaller breasts can also benefit from fat transfer to breasts, however their results will be more modest.
As this is a filling procedure, patients with very small breasts, will have limited space to fill with fat. Skinny patients with not much fat to transfer, are also not ideal. Women seeking very large increases in breast size will require breast implants. Breast fat transfer is not a lifting procedure either. Filling the breasts with fat will appear to give some lift. However, patients with sagging breasts or ptosis, require a breast lift for best results.
Yes. Studies have shown no correlation between fat transfer breast augmentation and breast cancer. However, breast fat transfer patients are required to have a mammogram prior to the procedure. This is to rule out any abnormalities and to take a snapshot of the breast tissue before the procedure. When the fat is placed in the breasts, a small cannula is used. This thin tube can cause some disruptions in the breast tissue. This does not cause cancer, but it can cause some confusion on future mammograms. This is why we order a mammogram prior to the procedure to document any changes caused by the fat transfer.
A certain percentage of the fat transferred will not survive. Rarely, sometimes these dying fat cells can cause cysts. The fat that doesn’t survive is usually absorbed by the body, but occasionally it may require drainage. There are also small risks of bleeding and infection but these are also very rare. All patients get antibiotics and the local anesthetic we use prevents bleeding.
If you already have implants and are having some issues, fat transfer to breasts may also help you. Visible rippling and/or thin breast skin, can be helped with implant exchange and fat transfer to breasts. It may even be possible to exchange the implants for fat. Patients suffering capsular contracture may also opt for implant removal and replacement with fat transfer breast augmentation.
Fat transfer to the breast cost depends on several factors. The main one is where and how much fat is to be harvested. If significant liposuction and body contouring is needed, the cost will be higher. However, compared to breast augmentation with implants, natural breast augmentation can be performed under local anesthesia. This significantly reduces both the cost and risk of the procedure.
Easy! Come in for a free consultation with plastic surgeon Dr. Staci Hix-Hernandez MD to determine if you are a good candidate. Dr. Hix-Hernandez has more than seven years experience performing complex breast reconstructions at a major teaching hospital. She is an expert at breast augmentation with implants and fat transfer, breast lifts, breast revisions and breast implant removals.