Fat Transfer to Breasts - My doctor says they can get me up 2 cup sizes. I am about 5'4 107 lbs and 22 years old.

I'm looking to get a fat transfer to my breasts. My doctor says they can get me up 2 cup sizes ( I am about 5'4 107 lbs and 22 years old). They're going to be using UAL technique. I've been hearing so many different opinions and I just want to know the truth. I dont know what to do, I'm really stuck. I want larger breasts but if I can do it without implants, I'd be ecstatic. My biggest fear out of all of this is the results of the Liposuction (I don't want to end up like Tara Reid with all the dimples). Can someone advise me on this matter?

Doctor Answers 57

Have a question? Ask a doctor

Fat transfer works but not after ultrasound-assisted liposuction

I been doing fat grafting for more than 11 years and fat grafting to the breast for 3 years. It works, but:

1) You cannot increase the breast size more than a cup size

2) You do not have a lot of fat, UAL is ultrasoinc harvesting and will kill all the fat cells

3) I am concerned that your doctor does not have enough experince, otherwise he would not suggest UAL

4) Make sure to ask for referral from previous patients, and also ask for mammogram of the previous patients

5) I have an on-going study with NIH. You can check it under clinicaltrials.gov and search under fat injection.

Thank you.

New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Fat injection to the breasts

It is so intuitively appealing... natural tissue injected into the breasts, all natural breast tissue that survives. What could be better?
Here's the rub.
Fat injection consists of mainly dead cells, with a disputed amount of living cells. Our research showed 20-25% alive, other studies have shown as low as 3% if you look at the ability of the cells to "breathe" (metabolize).
Those dead cells, when injected into the breasts, either are dissolved away by the body's white blood cells, or form chronic inflammatory reactions and are walled off (granulomatous reactions) or form fatty cysts. Lumpiness can also occur with the above problems as well.
It is the walling off process that causes the most worry. Calcium formation is common in granulomatous reactions. Calcium is what clues off mammographers to the presence of cancer. So will there be false positive mammograms for cancer in patients who have this technique? We'll have to wait and see.
In five years' time, we will have our answers. Until then, patients receiving this technique will take a certain risk. We won't be using this technique in our practice until more data are available.
UAL, by the way, (and also the laser) melts and destroys fat cells with ultrasound waves (or laser heat). This technique would guarantee only dead cells are introduced.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Breast Augmentation Using Your Own Fat

Breast Augmentation using your own fat a potentially great procedure.  You get liposuction of the fat in the unwanted areas and also get a breast augmentation using your own fat, a 100% natural substance.  Once fully healed these breasts are indistinguishable from 'normal' non-augmented breasts.

HOWEVER, patients always overestimate the amount of fat that they have for the use of breast augmentation.  If you are 5'4" and 107lb, you will barely have enough fat for a half cup increase.  There is just no way I can imagine that you will gain two cup sizes.  I think you should seek a second opinion from another board certified plastic surgeon who has experience with fat grafting.

When you go back to visit your surgeon again, ask him/her about his/her board certification.  You also want to see before and after pictures of other patients that had a two cup size increase.  And you want to make sure the after pictures were taken at least 3 months after the surgery.  If the doctor is reputable, he will certainly have at least one happy patient that is willing to talk to others potential patients about her experiences.


Martin Jugenburg, MD

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 248 reviews

Consider your options very carefully

The previous answer is accurate, but you need to know that at this time in the U.S. the option for fat grafting to the breast is specifically banned by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, so no board-certified plastic surgeon would do it for augmentation unless it is part of an approved clinical trial.

Also, the use of VASER here doesn't make sense to me; I do use it frequently but the ultrasound actually destroys the fat cells so it would not be suitable for grafting. We do hope to have the option of using fat in the breast in the not too distant future but for now caution is advised.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Fat for Breast Augmentation

Today there several options for breast augmentation. The more traditional option is breast implant surgery. Fat grafting is also one of the viable alternatives. The benefit is that there is no implant and if fat heals well, the breast looks and feels normal. The downside is that fat transfer into the breast usually requires use of BRAVA system prior to surgery, the amount of breast enlargement is usual limited to 1 cup size, there is minimal to no breast lift associated with it. Another problem is a unpredictable survivability of fat. Some calcifications will happen within the breast tissue breast augmentation with fat. Usually the pattern of those calcifications is different from calcifications associated with breast cancer. However, in most cases, radiation oncologists would be more aggressive with biopsy of those lesions, if there is a strong history of breast cancer in the family of previous biopsies. There are some centers doing breast augmentation with own fat today, however, before considering this technique the patient needs to consider not only immediate gratification, but also possible long-term effects associated with fat transfer. Sincerely, Boris Volshteyn M.D., M.S.

Boris Volshteyn, MD, MS
East Brunswick Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Ultrasonic liposuction for fat transfer is not good

For fat transfer to work, the cells harvested must be injected alive. Ultrasonic liposuction kills the fat cells. The injection will then only last for a brief time.

Also, for someone who is 5ft4inches and 107 lbs, it highly likely that you do not have enough fat to make a significant difference. Herein lies the dilemma for Fat Transfer for Breast augmentation, most small breasted woman do not have enough fat to make a difference.

Typically, 200 cc of fat is one cup size improvement.

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Breast lipoaugmrntation or fat transfer to breasts

I do perform this procedure for selected patients. It is not suitable for everyone and is usually twice more expensive. However you can simply not use dead cells after UAL or laser lipo. The cells are damaged after such procedures reducing their survival. Also, you can not go up more than one cup size at a time at best. Thus you will need two procedures at least.

Fat Grafting for Breasts is an Emerging Practice

Barbiebionda16, First of all, fat grafting for breasts is an emerging practice. Very nice results are possible with the newer micro-fat injection techniques. However, it is important that you see someone with extensive experience with fat grafting, but cause you can also end up with poor results.

Also, there is currently controversy about the effect of fat grafting on mammograms and other breast imaging techniques, so it is very important that you have baseline imaging studies done before the procedure.

Finally, you say they are using the UAL technique. This would be unusual since the ultrasound-assisted-liposuction would be traumatic to the fat cells. So, I would question the viability of the cells for transfer. Good luck with your surgery.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Fat transfer

american society of aesthetic plastic surgery and american society of plastic surgery stil do not recommend breast augmentation by fat transfer, please research this technique prior to embarking on this procedure by any surgeon

Christopher K. Livingston, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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.