For a good part of my professional career, fat was the enemy. No one wanted it. We dieted, exercised. We did liposuction and cut out excess skin and fat. Now, all of a sudden, everything has changed. We have a better understanding of aesthetics and aging. We are able to reliably and easily transfer fat from areas we do not want to areas that need the extra volume. First the face, then the buttocks and now the breasts. I do all these procedures in my practice.
The next question is, if you have fat, why bother with implants? This is a very good question, but the answer is better understood if you perform both these procedures. Here are the advantages and disadvantages, as I see it performing both procedures:
Advantages of breast implants for breast augmentation:
- One stage ability to add a precise amount of volume to the breasts
- Can achieve small, medium and larger amounts of volume increase
- Revision rate low (2%) in experienced hands
- Only one surgical site (breasts)
- Short surgery time (45 min)
- Minimal post-operative care required
- Good ability to control asymmetry
Disadvantages of breast implants:
- Mechanical device – will not last forever
- Implant is a foreign body
Advantages of fat for breast augmentation:
- Natural tissue
- No palpable implant
Disadvantages of fat for breast augmentation:
- Unpredictable amount of loss of fat with healing
- Can achieve only modest amounts of volume increase
- Revision rate high due to need for repeat fat transfer
- Two or more surgical sites (breasts and fat harvest site)
- Longer surgery time (>1 hr)
- More post-operative care required
- Potential for creating oil cysts
- May create areas of concern on breast imaging
Who Is A Candidate For Breast Augmentation With Fat?
Fat transfer for breast enhancement is ideal for a select group of patients. If you have an aversion to breast implant surgery and you fully understand the nuances of natural breast augmentation, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Epstein. A lot goes into this technique and there are aspects that need to be discussed to ensure that you achieve the results you expect. Whether you were to choose traditional breast augmentation or breast augmentation with fat, you must be a non-smoker and should be in good physical and emotional health prior to surgery. While it is necessary to have enough fatty tissue to extract for this breast enhancement procedure, there are limitations. You should enjoy a healthy weight for your body frame to be an ideal candidate for natural breast augmentation. The primary reason we discuss weight is that fat cells expand and shrink. Gaining or losing a substantial amount of weight after this procedure could dramatically affect the appearance of the breasts.
There is much to discuss if you want to enlarge your breasts using your own fat. To do so with an experienced, open-minded surgeon, contact us today at 631-689-1100.
What Is Recovery Like After Breast Augmentation With Fat?
You can expect some degree of swelling and bruising after your fat transfer procedure. These side effects may take a few weeks to subside. The overall recovery period after fat transfer to the breasts is influenced by the number of areas from which fat is harvested. Each area of focus may develop soreness, bruising, and swelling that last up to three weeks. As your body recovers, it is necessary to limit your physical activity. You may need to take a week or two off work and may feel more fatigued than usual for a short time. You may need to rely on over-the-counter pain medication to control post-operative discomfort. To heal as quickly and optimally as possible, you must strictly follow your after-care instructions. Even with the best aftercare, some of the transferred fat cells will die off. You can expect to see your final breast shape settled approximately six months after surgery.
Is Fat For Breast Augmentation Safer Than Implants?
Breast implants are generally considered safe and reliable. Most cases achieve outstanding results without complications. That said, if you are exploring the option of natural breast augmentation using your own fat cells, you may understand the risks associated with conventional breast augmentation. The most common is capsular contracture, followed by displacement and implant rupture. While displeasing, these complications can be corrected with appropriate care. When you undergo fat transfer for breast enlargement, there is no risk of displacement, but there is a chance that some of the transferred fat won't survive. There is no risk of implant rupture or capsular contracture, but there is still a risk of infection or poor aesthetic outcome. Dr. Epstein performs both breast implant surgery and breast augmentation with fat. He has a wealth of experience to draw on to help you determine which approach holds the most value for your situation. In addition to safety, it is also important to consider potential cosmetic outcomes.
Does Fat For Breast Augmentation Last?
The fat cells that establish blood supply after transfer are expected to remain viable indefinitely. Your final results, which may occur several months after your procedure, are considered permanent. With that, it is important to recognize the nature of fat cells. If you lose weight after your procedure, your breasts may shrink. If you gain weight, they may enlarge. For the most consistent shape, you want to maintain a stable weight.
Will I Have Scarring After Breast Fat Transfer?
You will have scarring after breast fat transfer, but you may not notice. One of the advantages of this technique is that it is performed using very small instruments. The cannula used for the liposuction aspect of the procedure leaves scars about the size of a freckle. The instrument used to insert pure fat cells into the breasts is a comparable size. After the tiny punctures have completely closed, you may apply silicone sheets or other forms of scar treatment to facilitate fading.
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What is my take on this?
Every procedure has its advantages and disadvantages. I keep an open mind for anyone who wants either procedure. As long as they are a candidate for that procedure, and understand the risks and benefits, and anticipated aesthetic outcomes, I am certainly flexible. If a woman has minimal donor fat – then in that case I would offer implants alone. For most of my patients seeking breast augmentation, implants are a better option with great ability to control the results. For a woman who has enough donor fat and really does not want a foreign body inside her, fat is a good choice.
For some women, I would even offer a hybrid procedure. When needed, fat can be placed at the time of augmentation to improve contours of the breasts. In this case, much smaller amounts of fat are used than for augmentation with fat alone.
One more thing to think about – sometimes I have a patient for liposuction who would rather use the removed fat to provide augmentation of her breasts as opposed to throwing that fat out. Often there is enough fat to augment the buttocks and still have enough fat left over for the breasts. These are all options to think about. Once the fat is removed with liposuction and disposed of, it will never be available again. Fat is like liquid gold. Think carefully before you get rid of it.
Sections – What Else Should I Know
- Breast Augmentation with Fat
- Will my breasts be symmetric?
- How far apart will my breasts be? Will I have cleavage?
- The truth about incision size
- Do breast implants need to be routinely changed?
- Things We Cannot Control: Wound healing, tissue stretch and gravity
- Breast Augmentation and Lactation
- Setting realistic expectations for your result
- Breast Implant Rupture – How To Know? – Are Routine MRI Scans Really Necessary?
- Mondor’s Cords – What Are They?
Prev Chapter: Will I need a breast lift (Mastopexy)? »
Next Chapter: Important Things to Consider When You Decide to Move Forward With Breast Augmentation »
Chapters – Breast Augmentation Guide
- Intro to Breast Augmentation
- Five key decisions you need to make
- One-Day Recovery Breast Augmentation
- Anesthesia – General, Sedation or Local?
- Will I need a breast lift (Mastopexy)?
- What else should I know about breast augmentation?
- Important Things to Consider When You Decide to Move Forward With Breast Augmentation
- Revision of breast augmentation
- ALCL and Breast Implant Illness
- Motiva Breast Implant Clinical Trial