Fat grafting to the breast is becoming an increasingly popular nonsurgical alternative to traditional breast augmentation, mainly because it helps to shape and contour the breast tissue without requiring deeper incisions. The procedure uses typical liposuction procedures to extract fat from surplus areas, and then re-inject it into the breasts.
Some points to keep in mind if you’re considering fat grafting:
The procedure begins with fat extraction (usually from the buttocks or abdomen). The surgeon removes this fat via liposuction and then will process the fat at facilities at the same clinic or elsewhere, to prepare it for transplantation. This processing step helps filter the extracted cells to select out the healthy fat cells and remove the fluids and other cells that extracted fat tissue contains. The surgeon transfers the fat cells into small syringes and injects it into the breasts. This process makes fat grafting an attractive option for women who were planning to get liposuction anyway, and want subtler changes without the downtime of an implant procedure.
Breast augmentation with fat transfer doesn’t leave typical scarring on the patient’s body, since it requires tiny incisions for extracting the fat. Many women see this procedure as a godsend because it offers a more “natural” solution for problems with breast volume, and just like with traditional augmentation, in some cases the extra volume can even compensate for minor breast sagging. The nonsurgical procedure uses living cells from the patient’s body, so there are no foreign substances that may pose extra problems for patients with sensitive tissue, and the subtle volume changes popular with this approach help ensure a natural looking end result.
Since fat transfer augmentations typically cannot inject more than 200ml of fat in one sitting, many patients need to undergo more than a single procedure to meet their breast enhancement goals. But here’s where problems sometimes occur: the higher the volume for fat transplants, the greater the risk that the re-injected fat might not behave the way it should.
While plenty of fat transfer procedures might be executed flawlessly, some patients (especially those with a history of smoking or other concerns that can damage tissue health) can experience problems where a certain portion of the fat will harden and condense, and/or will reabsorb into the body. As a standalone augmentation technique, fat transfer is best limited to small-scale augmentations without dramatic increases to breast volume.
Is it Right for You?
As with so many other procedures, candidacy is key. Fat transfer is an excellent choice for a select few women who are healthy, active, and are not extremely thin, since even a modest increase in breast size requires considerable fat harvest. And while it’s a small-scale procedure, it’s still surgery; you can expect twilight or general anesthesia during the liposuction step in the process, and in some cases during the augmentation step as well.
The good news is that this technique is getting more reputable, more up-to-date, and more integrated with proven techniques for breast augmentation. Recent studies tell us that more high-quality surgeons are using this option as a supplement for normal augmentation or reconstruction. From my perspective, it’s still pretty unreliable as a standalone procedure or as a replacement for traditional implant procedures, but it does offer some exciting possibilities for the future.
As one of the leading Orange County plastic surgeons, Dr. Michael Niccole founded and is the Medical Director of CosmetiCare Plastic Surgery Center & MedSpa. Since opening the doors in 1982, he has turned CosmetiCare into one of the most successful multi-specialty cosmetic rejuvenation centers in Southern California.
Dr. Niccole has extensive experience and a refined technique in performing many cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. His skills as a surgeon and the positive results seen on thousands of satisfied patients have helped him create recognition for CosmetiCare around the world receiving patients from Germany, Italy, France, England, Australia, Israel, Costa Rica, and a host of other countries.
Dedicated to his work as a plastic surgeon, Orange County resident Dr. Niccole loves helping people, and it shows with every patient he sees. He has been honored over the years for his abilities as a surgeon and his countless humanitarian efforts. The MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) chose him as their “Man of the Year” in 2008 for his continued humanitarian efforts dedicated to reconstructing lives for children and adults through donated plastic surgery.
Dr. Niccole was honored at one of the MDA’s Gala fundraiser, “Gift of Hope”. He was selected by the Consumer’s Research Council of America as one of the TOP PLASTIC SURGEONS IN AMERICA and included in the “Guide to America’s Top Plastic Surgeons”. CosmetiCare was voted one of the “Best Plastic Surgery Centers in Orange County” (multiple times) by The Orange County Register’s “Peoples’ Choice” and published in its guide “The Best of Orange County.”