Fat Transfer Side Effects

Are there any side effects of having fat injections to increase the breast size?

Doctor Answers 19

Side effects of fat transfer

With any surgical procedure, risks and complications exist.  Fat transfer is a safe and effective way to increase your breast size from 1/2 to 1 cup on average.  The usual risks from surgery like bleeding, bruising, swelling, infection, and numbness are low, and scarring is very minimal.  However, there are some risks unique to fat transferring like fat necrosis, where the transfer piece of fat dies and forms a hard ball. There can be shrinkage, loss of fat, formation of fat oil drops, and lumps. I do suggest finding a board certified plastic surgeon who has done several fat transfers to the breasts, and discuss all your concerns.  Sometimes there will also be changes on your mammagrams from fat transfer that shows some abnormalities. For most women, this is a very safe alternative to breast augmentation, with no risks of implant problems.

San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

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Fat Transfer Side Effects

With any surgery, including fat transfer for breast augmentation, there are potential risks and/or side effects.  These can include: infection, bleeding, fat resorption, and fat necrosis.  Check with a board certified plastic surgeon who has extensive experience in both fat transfer and breast augmentation with breast implants to see which option may be in your best interest.     

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Fat Transfer to the Breasts is Still Somewhat Controversial

Any procedure that causes  potential scarring to the breasts must be considered carefully.  At this time, it is reasonable to wait until further evidence is posted in plastic surgery literature about the long term effects of fat injection in the breast.  Fat grafting to the face is well established.  Long term limitations and benefits of fat grafting to the breast still need to be established. 

Elizabeth S. Harris, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Fat grafting side effects

fat grafting carries potential risks and complications including lumpiness, rippling, fat atrophy or loss, and asymmetry. In areas of the body where the fat is grafted more superficially such as the lower eyelid skin, these complications can be more noticeable.

S. Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Fat Transfer to the Breast Side Effects

Recently Fat Transfer to the breast has become more popular, but there are possible side effects that one must consider when evaluating this modality for volume enhancement.  
I think the main side effect that was most worrisome has been the concern of scarring on a mammogram should some of the fat not survive producing shadows that may concern a Radiologist.  I believe that doctors that read the mammograms are getting more comfortable with these possible changes, but some mammogram false positive results could occur necessitating further diagnostic studies.  Other side effects are possible infection, fat resorption necessitating more sessions of fat grafting, and possible asymmetry.  Keep in mind that fat grafting is best for breast contour irregularities or small volume enhancement; very large amounts of fat  and possible multiple sessions would be needed to approximate the result of large breast implants for breast augmentation.
Also, one should consider the possible side effects of where the fat is harvested from, most notedly, contour irregularities or asymmetry.  Hope this helps.

Side effects of fat injections to breasts is a delicate subject

Fat grafting emerged in the last few years as a very useful tool in facial rejuvenation, augmentation of different body areas and even wound healing by stem cell transfer. When it comes to the breast, it is a completely different issue. The breast is a hormone sensitive organ and this is related to breast cancer. Now, to make things clear,the scientific evidence so far did not prove a relationship between cancer and fat grafting but there is a lot we do not know.

The current issue with fat grafting to the breast is the fear of having fat necrosis, lumps and biposies and more surgeries. Hope that helps!

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Fat transfer side effects

Swelling and bruising are common side effects that are considered temporary. Some of the fat may not take to the area, either, so you may need a few sessions to achieve your desired size. 

Some more serious risks include calcification of fat, oil cysts and scarring. These may be mistaken for cancer on mammograms. However, I have not found this to be a concern for my patients, and the procedure has been able to achieve great results! 

Fat transfer to breast side effects

Fat grafting to the breast is becoming very popular.  It can offer a nice enhancement with minimal scars and the added benefit of treating another area with liposuction.   As with all surgeries the vast majority of the time you will have some discomfort but no real problems.  However, make sure that you are seeing a qualified plastic surgeon for this and that they do it as a regular part of their practice.  There are several things that they should discuss with you; too many to list.  Some of the key areas of your discussion should include the cosmetic concerns including under/over correction and dimpling.  That the percentage of fat that survives is variable and a second procedure may be required.  Of the fat that does not survive most is resorbed by your body but some may result in calcification which can influence mammogram interpretation.  And finally a discussion about the role of stem cell activation with fat transfer.

Rodger Shortt, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Breast Fat Grafting

The biggest problem with fat grafting is donor site irregularity if you are trying to get as much fat as possible and fat graft loss at the recipient site.  Fat graft survival is related to fat becoming vascularized.  I would say on average about 70% of the fat injected survives.  There are several different ways PS talk about harvesting and transferring the fat as the "best" way but I do not believe that there is a best way. Sometimes graft survival is more dependent upon the patient than the technique.

Robert Kearney, MD, FACS
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Fat grafting to the breast!

Please find an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and member of the Aesthetic Society using the Smart Beauty Guide. These Plastic Surgeons can guide you on all aspects of facial surgery, breast augmentation and body procedures including tummy tucks or mommy makeovers!

Fat grafting is a valuable tool in breast surgery. This technique has gained more popularity over the past 7 years. There are many techniques used to harvest the fat, process the fat and then re-inject the fat. Conventional suction lipectomy is performed with a small diameter cannula, processed by separating the liquid and fibrous tissue from the fat, and then placed into syringes for re-injection or through a closed system.

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.