The breasts play a prominent role in a woman’s overall physique and, often, in her self- or sexual confidence as well. But not all women want synthetic breast implants, whether out of concern for their health implications or because they wish to avoid having to maintain or replace implants later in life. For these reasons and more, breast fat grafting has become a popular and very practical means of safely improving the size, shape, and symmetry of the breasts.
What is breast fat grafting?
Breast fat grafting is an in-office procedure done under local anesthesia that involves harvesting healthy fatty tissue from donor sites on the body, purifying it, and then injecting it into the breasts to increase their size and improve their appearance.
Because the procedure uses your own healthy fat in a purified form rather than synthetic implants, the procedure is free of silicone and any other foreign products, so there will never be a need for implant replacement, or a possibility of experiencing rippling, capsular contracture, and other problems that affect breast implants.
What is the procedure like?
Liposuction is used to harvest the healthy fat from one or more donor sites and that fat is then re-injected into the breasts to enhance their size and proportions. Once a donor site is chosen and agreed upon by both the patient and surgeon, fat is harvested and purified and will be injected into the breasts.
Where is the needed fat harvested from?
Areas that are considered as donor sites include the following:
- Inner and outer thighs
- Stomach and abdomen
- Love handles or flanks
- Knees and calves
- Upper arms
What results can I expect from breast fat grafting?
Many patients undergo just one session of fat transfer to the breasts in order to increase their breasts by one cup size. Once that newly grafted fat takes root in the area and connects up with the body’s blood supply, additional surgical sessions can be done to further enlarge the breasts. The settling period usually takes up to four months. Each subsequent surgical session would increase the breasts by another cup size. Additionally, patients can expect a finer degree of control as to how their breasts look, as the fatty tissue is more easily manipulated than pre-formed synthetic breast implants are.
What are the potential risks?
Any time an incision is made into the body, a patient is exposed to some risk. Breast fat grafting is a very commonly performed procedure and complications with it are very rare when done by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Nevertheless, the potential risks that could occur include bleeding, contracting an infection, and the development of scars. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast fat grafting is safe and does not lead to a higher incidence of breast cancer, nor does it make it any more difficult to detect breast cancer in the future. The procedure utilizes your own healthy fat and no foreign bodies at all.
What is recovery like from breast fat grafting?
Patients will be provided with complete postoperative recovery instructions and the following is offered as a general guide: Expect to have some bruising and swelling at donor sites where fat was taken from, that typically last about one week. The breasts will also be slightly bruised and swollen for 7 to 10 days. In both the donor site and the breasts, you will feel soreness for up to 2 weeks but will feel little actual pain as pain medication will dim that sensation. Most patients return to work after a breast fat transfer within 5 to 7 days and begin light exercise within 10 to 14 days. (At least one daily walk is recommended each day after your surgery.)