Fat Grafting (Fat Transfer) is a novel technique that may be used to augment or accentuate the breasts. It is essentially taking fat from one area on the body and transferring it to another area. For example, fat can be transferred to the breasts for a natural augmentation, to correct asymmetry, assist in disguising a palpable implant or accentuate a reconstruction (See Natural Breast Augmentation or Revision and Reconstructive Breast Surgery with Fat Grafting). Additionally, fat can be used to rejuvenate and restore other areas of the body, such as aging hands, sagging or deflated buttocks, or defects (dimpling, indentations) from previous liposuction (See our Beverly Hills Body Institute website – section on Fat Grafting).
To begin, donor tissue is harvested via liposuction from areas with unwanted fat, such as the thighs, abdomen, or flanks. The fat cells are then prepared and injected into the breasts, sculpting the area to a desired shape and size.
As the transferred fat is living tissue, it will adhere to the existing cells. Most women will retain from 50-80% of the fat from each procedure. (Can anything be done perioperatively to increase percentage of fat that takes?) Most procedures can increase breast size by a half to a full cup, and it can be repeated for greater results.
Depending on the breast size desired, more than one fat transfer procedure may be necessary. On some occasions, it may be appropriate to use fat transfer along with a breast implant to obtain a fuller, voluminous chest.
During the initial postoperative period, there will be a lot of swelling in both the areas from which the fat was harvested, as well as the areas to which the fat was injected. It is important to appreciate this, as some individuals may mistake this initial swelling for the final result. The majority of the swelling will dissipate over the first few weeks, and at 6-months post-op, a final result can truly be observed.
The end result is subtle, yet significant, and completely natural.
In addition to implants, breast augmentation can be accomplished with fat grafting. This method takes fat from elsewhere in the body, typically the abdomen, flanks and thighs, and places it in the breasts. This can be performed in conjunction with implants to improve contour, or alone to achieve a modest increase in breast volume. For breast reconstruction, fat grafting to the breasts can also help fill lumpectomy defects or better disguise an implant. Most procedures can increase breast size by a half to a full cup, and it can be repeated for greater results.
Revision and Reconstructive Breast Surgery with Fat Grafting
Aesthetic issues that can arise following a breast augmentation or reconstruction with implants include rippling and the ability to see or feel the implants. While adjusting or exchanging the implants or using a dermal graft or muscle to cover the implant may correct this, fat grafting can be a great option as well.
Additionally, fat transfer can be utilized to improve or correct contour irregularities or asymmetry following a lumpectomy or radiation for breast cancer treatment.
A consultation can guide you in determining if you are a candidate and if this is an appropriate method for you.
The BRAVA system is an adjunct that can be used preoperatively for procedures involving fat transfer to the breast. This is an external suction device system that is used to help create an ideal environment for the fat once it is placed in the breast. The BRAVA device is worn for 10-14 hours per day for several weeks prior to the procedure. By providing continuous gentle suction to the breasts, it opens the breast pocket, creating a larger space for the harvested fat.
A unique option in breast reconstruction, the fat transfer involves the extraction of unwanted fatty tissue from a donor site elsewhere on your body, such as the thighs or stomach. These cells are then grafted to the chest, creating a smooth, defined breast mound. The area can be sculpted to meet your personal aesthetic needs; the fat transfer is a completely natural approach for restoring a feminine frame. For example, fat grafting to the breasts can also help fill lumpectomy defects or better disguise a palpable implant.
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For individuals seeking breast augmentation with fat-grafting (also referred to as Natural Breast Augmentation) an external suction system, BRAVA, can be worn preoperatively to expand the breast pocket. This is theorized to establish an ideal environment for fat to be placed.