Fat used in Breast Reconstruction?

Where does the fat come from when used in breast reconstruction surgery? Is everyone a candidate for this?

Doctor Answers (7)

Fat has many uses in breast reconstyruction

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Natural tissue breast reconstruction uses fat only (without breast implants) to create a warm living breast mound and is the most elegant solution in breast reconstruction. The fat comes from the abdomen (DIEP and SIEA flaps), buttock (GAP flaps), or inner thigh pockets (TUG flaps) and is transplanted with a microscope. Most women are candidates if they have unwanted body fat and need a breast reconstruction. I use this in 75-100 new breast reconstructions each year in breast cancer patients or those with the BRCA gene mutation. It is the ldeal solution also for women who have have suffered problems from their breast implants (capsular contracture) especially if they underwent radiation in the past.  Fat injection in small volumes is also used as an ancillary technique to smooth contours or ripples in implant reconstruction, or to supplement/augment the size of a natural tissue flap. This fat is taken from the same donor areas using a liposuction technique and simply reinjected  where needed.


New York Plastic Surgeon

Fat used in breast reconstruction?

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Thank you for your question!  Fat grafting has become a popular procedure to improve aesthetic outcome following breast reconstruction or for improvement of contour after lumpectomy. Much of the newest research has investigated the properties of fat, in terms of its stem cell properties and associated advantages. It has significantly ameliorated radiation damage by increasing vascularity. Also, it adds additional "fatty tissue" atop the reconstructed breast mound to further contour any concavities or deformities, while also masking implant visibility with rippling and such.

At our Breast Reconstruction Center, we have utilizing this technique almost routinely to maximize the aesthetic outcomes after lumpectomy or mastectomy. We have utilized the micro-fat grafting technique, and have been obtaining maximal fat graft survival into the breast. After harvesting of the fat from areas with excess fat, usually the belly, hips, or thighs, the fat is processed and injected back into the breast using the aforementioned techniques. Our patients have been very happy with the results as well as the areas where the liposuction was performed. Contour has been much improved using the micro-fat grafting technique, and the downtime is minimal.

Fat grafting has become a mainstay in breast reconstruction and has added another edge to breast reconstruction for aesthetics with minimal morbidity and complications.  Hope that this helps!  Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Breast Reconstruction with Fat Transfer

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Thank you for your question.

In our San Francisco Bay Area practice we can utilize your own fat (fat transfer) to reconstruct minor deformities of the breast. Subcutaneous fat (fat just under the skin) is removed with liposuction, processed then injected directly into to the sites that are lacking in volume. Fat is commonly taken from the abdomen, back, and thighs although it is not limited to these locations. Even very slender patients generally have enough fat for transferring.

Patients who have small contour irregularities following lumpectomies may be good candidates for fat transfer. When larger volumes of are required to meet a patient’s desired results (i.e. following mastectomy) breasts are reconstructed using silicone implants or by rearranging existing muscles and skin.For more information on breast reconstruction visit a board certified plastic surgeon.

I hope this helps.      

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

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Fat grafting for breast recosntruction

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Usually fat is not used as the primary form of breast reconstruction but is used as a "touch-up" to some asymmetries and contour irregularities.  It can be harvested from the hips, the thighs, the back, the abdomen, etc..

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Fat used in Breast Reconstruction?

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Fat grafting is been used today in breast reconstruction to smoothen out irregularities, achieve upper pole fullness and in some cases perform small augmentation. The fat can be grafted from any area in the body were fat is in excess. Most common sites are the abdomen, flanks, thigh, buttocks.

Good luck!

Tal T. Roudner, MD, FACS
Coral Gables Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Fat can be harvested from the lower abdomen or other areas

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The use of the fat grafting for the breast reconstruction is getting more acceptance. The procedure is very simple with minimal down time. I use fat grafting as a second procedure to enhance the result of the breast reconstruction with DIEP flap or implants.  In some special cases it can be used as the primary breast reconstruction technique.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Fat transfer for breast reconstruction

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Fat transfer is increasingly used to enhance the results of breast reconstruction, by smoothing out contours and filling in areas that need some volume. This is in addition to the primary procedure, which would be either an implant or a flap. The fat is obtained by liposuction in a part of the body that has some excess, so it may not work for very thin patients.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.