Fat grafting to the breast, an alternative to implants?
Many patients want to know about fat grafting to the breasts. What is this procedure? Who is a candidate? What are the risks?
What is Fat Grafting?
Fat grafting involves transplanting fat from other areas of the body such as the abdomen, flanks and legs to another part of the body. The term “graft” indicates that the newly transplanted cells do not have their own blood supply and depend on surrounding tissues to survive. This is done through liposuction of the targeted areas (usually abdomen and legs), followed by processing of the fat. Processing is usually done by simply letting the fat separate from the fluid to obtain more purified fat. The prepared fat is then transferred through small incisions to the breasts. Specific areas of the breast such as the cleavage and the top portion can be addressed to provide more volume.
Who is a Candidate for Fat Grafting?
Fat grafting is best used for small to moderate increases in bust. Typically patients can expect to go up approximately half a cup size to a full cup size. Patient with very loose skin and low position of the nipple will usually require a breast lift (mastopexy) simultaneously. Patients with little to low body fat may not be candidates for this procedure. Patients with a history of prior breast cancer or irregular masses on mammogram may not be appropriate candidates. Patients who desire large increases in bust will not likely benefit from fat grafting although fat grafting can be performed with implant augmentation to help make more symmetrical breasts and augment the upper pole of the breast and the cleavage.
What are the risks of fat grafting?
Fat grafting is unpredictable in nature. Typically patients can expect to have anywhere from 40 – 70 percent of the transferred volume to remain; however in some instances more or less volume can take. In addition, risks of this procedure include lumps, fat necrosis, asymmetrical take of fat and need for further procedures. Often patients elect to undergo second procedures to further augment the volume transferred. This is usually done 6 – 9 months after the initial procedure.