Breast Augmentation from Fat Transfer, Cielo Cosmetic Surgery - La Jolla, CA

I spent over a year on this site watching the...

I spent over a year on this site watching the progress of people's procedures. I have wanted to get things done but it has always seemed to be something that "might happen in the future". Can't really believe this is going to happen...
I have done a lot of research and believe I am well informed. I have spoken to over a dozen offices specifically about fat grafting for breast augmentation.
I am 55, tall and slim to medium build. I had three children that I breast fed. I have always been flat chested.
This is a big step for me.
Today I had a consultation with Dr Gerald Schneider, and his assitant Dario from Cielo Cosmetic Surgery . They could not have been more open, honest or informative. Their approach seemed so personalized. I really had the impression that it was important to them that they could deliver exactly what I wanted.
The facility was beautiful, clean and up to date.
I booked the procedure for September 22nd.
I showed Dr. Schneider pictures that I had downloaded from the internet of patients that had had the proceedure who looked similar to me before, and had a similar look after, that would be satisfying to me.
I really don't want large breasts. I would like mine to be larger than they are and mostly want them to blend seamlessly with the pectoral muscles - not slope - empty - to a point.
One thing that is unique about this surgery office is that their website posts the prices for each part of a procedure. If you have been looking online - you will know this is almost unheard of. Each cost is specifically layed out as in, fat removal, fat grafting, PRP (you can research this), etc.
One thing I would like to address here is the idea that spending money on cosmetic surgery is vain and/or unnecessary and any guilt anyone feels along those lines.
As a wife/mother/professional I have spent decades giving to my home, my spouse, my children and my job. It was an actual "process" for me to learn that it was ok for me to "receive".
I will post as the procedure progresses.

6 hours after procedure

I love this place. I love the doctor and the people who work here. I am very happy with the results.
It is funny because most people would start with what I intend to end up with but it is all a matter of perspective. Though I can see from the pictures that my breasts look awesome now...they are foreign and cumbersome to me. So though I may get a little attached to them as they are - I welcome the reduction that is inevitable from the swelling going down and the average loss of 50% injected.
I got 250cc in one breast and 300cc in the other. I started out with one a little larger than the other.
In the pictures it looks like there is a funny indent on the cleavage side of the right breast but it isn't even slightly there - that is a marker mark. The breasts are perfectly formed.
My thighs where the fat was harvested from are lumpy. They have never been smooth but they are lumpier than they were. It would be nice if they smoothed out.
I did not take the pills that were available because they said someone would have to drive you home if you took them and I didn't want anyone to know I had this procedure done. I would be judged and it would not be looked upon favorably.
It is tuff - I will admit that. I would recommend you take the pills. I came home and took two naprocine and am feeling fine as long as I don't really push using my arms to lift or anything like that. Otherwise - pretty normal.
I added fat grafting to my face kind of at the last hour - and it turned out unbelievable. I feel like I am from that movie The Witches of Eastwick. It took a solid 5 years off my face and took about 15 minutes though the fat had already been extracted when I did my breasts.
Here are my breast pictures and I will post progress as it occurs. Good luck to all on here.
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon

The doctor was very personable, informative, freely gave of his time and really seemed to want to make sure that he could provide exactly what I was looking for.

Was this review helpful? 1 other found this helpful

Comments (45)

Sort by

Good luck with your surgery today! I'll be anxiously awaiting an update to your review once you feel up to it. Hoping you have a smooth recovery!
  • Reply
Dear Its a Good Life, I have been "stalking" this site (as my daughter says) for over a year. I feel like I am in the same place you are at...but breast augmentation is secondary to getting my face taken care of. I see you said you are considering adding facial fat grafting to your procedure on the 22nd. I am looking forward to seeing what the cost is and how it works for you. I think an important part of facial fat grafting is that I have had a "pretty" face my whole life. It looks haggard and tired now but I suppose there are things that could be worse. I will be interested in learning how, if you decide to go through with the procedure, the fat changes your looks or makes you look different instead of just looking like a younger version of yourself. I am looking to get fat graphting to my face really soon so I hope you can post the results as soon as possible. I would be interested in knowing if the doctor and staff are as great durig the procedure as they were during the consultation. Also, how long out are the appointments from when you call to schedule?
  • Reply
Yes the staff was awesome during the procedure. These people are really warm. I seemed to get an appointment pretty easily so - not a month or anything - probably even a week if you aren't asking for a specific time they already have booked.
  • Reply
Dear It's a good life, Bravo for you! So many of us woman forget to do things for ourselves, while we spend much time taking care of others. I had implant removal fat transfer to my breasts 1.5 years ago. To this day I say it is the best present I ever gave myself. I was totally flat chested without implants. I am 59 y.o., 5'3', and slender. I asked my doctor to please make my breast a nice B cup to suit my body. He did a beautiful job. My breasts are soft, and the shape is lovely! Good luck to you, take care, and enjoy your new shape!!!
  • Reply
Hi Green55, I am doing what your did 1.5 years ago. So glad to hear you are happy with the results. I too am very flat chested and would be happy with a 36A after the fat grafting. Also nice to hear that your breasts are soft...have not experienced that for over 25 years.
  • Reply
Thank you for your encouraging words...I am still in disbelief that I may have healthy looking breasts after all this time...one week away...
  • Reply
Linnea923 --- I am so happy I could cry. Like you I don't want some unfamiliar apendages hanging off my chest - I just want a little curve and not to look emaciated. Good luck to you - a little increase is a big deal for us naturally small breasted women and I understand the less you inject the greater the percentage of retention.
  • Reply
Hey ItsAGoodLife, glad you started your journey with us on RealSelf. It's nice to hear that RealSelf has been helpful to you and now it's your turn. I love your comment about actually learning that it's "okay" to do something for yourself. That's so true! Are your ready for your recovery? Will you have some help the first day or so post-op? Keep us posted!
  • Reply
No help - don't need it....I am a tuff cookie and I really won't need any down time...after you have gone through 72 hour labor and four root canals this is a friggen cakewalk. And yes - I am grateful for realself. It is a good and healthy place for women to commune.
  • Reply
Has anyone had the experience of having lipo and then having fat come back onto their bodies in places where it was never before? I read that that happened in a study. Apparently your body won't make fat back where you had it removed because it is possible that the lipo action destroys the lattice that the fat adheres to. Instead, your body continues to make fat but does so elsewhere. This is a little known study - probably not very popular with plastic surgeons - but it was written up in the NY Times. I'm just wondering if anyone on this site has had that experience of the fat coming back. In this article http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/after-liposuction-exercise-keeps-the-fat-off/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0 they say the fat comes back viscerally if you don't exercise which is much worse for your health than just subcutaneous fat. If I have this surgery it will for sure get me into the gym on a regular basis!! There is no free lunch! :-)
  • Reply
I had a cousin sometime back had lipo, when she gained it just made other places bigger!
  • Reply
It is a good life- I am 17 months post op of this procedure. I think you will be very happy with your breasts since you have realistic expectations. My breasts have a wonderful shape. My lipo is not perfect. But, in retrospect, I would have had a little lipo taken from all over instead of so much lipo to 2 areas. I love my breasts though! Good luck, enjoy the time off. I only took pain pills for 1 day but then needed about 11 days to begin feeling good. Everyone is different though.
  • Reply
Veell- they probably should move your question somewhere else as this comment section is to support this woman unless she does not mind. But, yes, of course, the fat goes to other places. If you gain weight, the fat will not poof into the air..it lands. I gained 5 lbs after surgery and I do not gain any weight in the hips/legs where I had lipo. I gain in the abs & the arms. So, it will be important for me to lose this 5 lbs and maintain my post surgery weight. I am sure that the plastic surgeons know this..but will that help their sales? No, although the study that you are referring to still says that a large % of women still decided to have the lipo even knowing this. For some women, this can work out well. I have a friend who was lipoed in the back. She purposely gained 10 lbs after surgery b/c all of the weight went to her hips and she always wanted hips. She was a complete banana figure and turned into an hourglass from the breast transfer & the gain to the hips. It is an amazing difference. For me unfortunately, having a fat stomach & fat arms with straighter hips is not looking real good, lol! Time to eat less donuts for me!
  • Reply
Good luck with your procedure! Recovery is difficult the first week, so just make sure you're prepared for it. You are so right about the unnecessary guilt, I was so worried about being. "Judged" I only told two people besides my husband I was having the procedure. After the first several months after surgery I decided to change that, I had a fantastic experience and why not share it, it may help someone else! And I've received mostly positive feedback. Do it for yourself and you will be happy with your results. I went in thinking I will be happy just to get rid of my love handles I had worked so hard at trying to get rid of and whatever else would be a huge bonus. When I was told 50% retention I wasn't sure what that would look like, so it's hard to imagine what your end results will be. I wish you great results and happiness.
  • Reply
I've considered it too ,just heard good and bad can't decide, keep us posted
  • Reply
Good luck, keep us posted!
  • Reply
Been reading the comments below. My PS trained in the us, also mentioned dr Delvechio being one of the best. However, in my experience , multiple fat graft procedures work best. Each time the body seems to retain more. I'm very happy with my results. The lady below seems to have done a lot of research, good for her. So have I, and after 3 stage procedure I can honestly say I'm very happy with the results
  • Reply
who is your doc? I am willing to travel for the best results. thanks for posting.
  • Reply
Are you local in San Diego or flying in for this procedure? I do wish you the best, and am sure there are satisfied customers of Cielo. I had a consult there and decided not to have the procedure done there for several reasons. 1) I felt extremely uncomfortable with Dario (the owner) in the room with myself and Dr. Schneider. I should have had the option for a female chaperon. 2) While Dr. Schneider is a retired board certified plastic surgeon, Ceilo itself does not offer the option for either/both implants AND fat transfer because they don't use a surgery center. I do not want implants, but I feel I would get a more objective opinion from a doc that offered both. Otherwise they are just trying to sell you on whichever product they offer. 3) The procedure is done with local anesthesia in the office. I would personally feel much safer in a surgery center to have this done. While I am personally comfortable with general anesthesia (and prefer it, as it is less painful during the procedure since you are "out"), I understand that others do not always share this opinion. According to Dr. Schneider (and other docs), the use of local anesthesia may limit the amount of fat that can be taken out and transferred. 4) Dr. Schneider, when examining me, let it slip that he didn't think I was the "best candidate" for fat transfer and that implants might be a better option. He immediately backtracked and corrected himself when Dario gave him a 'look' and jumped in, telling me how I am a perfect candidate for the procedure. I am a small 34B. From your pics, I would guess that you are even smaller than I am now. Many docs will tell you they can only inject up to 300cc into each breast, and to expect the 50% take rate (allowing them to manage patient expectations), and that to get anything more than a 1/2 cup size difference, more procedures are needed (which, ironically, fits well with the limits of local anesthesia). This may be true, very much due to to individual breast elasticity. However, the surgeons training in and knowledge of breast fat transfer techniques are also of just as much importance. The 150cc transfer to each breast isn't going to make a major difference even if your chest measurement is extremely narrow. 5) While I also thought Dr. Schneider was knowledgeable (he was formerly a head plastics guy at Scripps) and put me at east in the consult, I did some local digging and was informed by personal references of procedures that he did where the results didn't meet expectations. Keep in mind these are just a few instances within many years of his practice. However, it was concerning, especially since these procedures took place in a general surgery center, not a local office. I have personally been to several consults here in Southern California (to offices that do just fat transfer, others that do only implants, and few that do both), as well as other geographies while traveling. While I have not yet scheduled the surgery, I have learned a lot in my exploration. 1) Go to a board certified plastic surgeon who uses an actual surgery center and anesthesiologist. You will be safer. 2) Make sure the surgeon does both fat transfer and implants. S/he will likely offer a more objective point of view on what is optimal for your body. 3) More fat can be harvested, transferred and kept when (1) you are under general anesthesia and (2) your doctor is well trained in this procedure. 4) Be wary of places that base pricing/fees on lipo on specific body parts. Yes, the surgeon should tell you his opinion on best harvest sites, but sometimes harvesting less from more areas is better for your overall body appearance (less risk of future lipo effects). I encourage you to look at the results on of Dr. Bednar (Charlotte NC), Dr. Delvecchio (Boston, MA) and Dr. Hammond (Grand Rapids MI). All of these doctors are able to transfer more fat (300-700cc) to each breast with a higher "keep rate" than what you would see in many local surgery offices. I have chosen my doctor (none of those listed) because he is a board certified plastic surgeon who uses several option (fat transfer and/or implants) in his practice; he has been trained in France on this procedure and has gone back for continuing training there, and has worked with Dr. Delvecchio, using the latest techniques. His quote to me was inclusive of surgery center fees (general anesthesia), and several harvest sites (full lateral thigh, hips/flanks, abdomen and arms) taking the right amount of fat from each so as to leave me with an optimal figure - for approximately half of the amount of my quote from Ceilo (I assume for $5900 inclusive, you only have a couple of harvest sites). He thinks he can get me the results I want (full C/small D) in one procedure, where Ceilo told me I definitely needed to stage this to get the results I want. My doctor is not local to Southern California (where prices seem to be higher than elsewhere), so I will be traveling for the procedure, but fortunately I have family in the area and can get there for the encouraged (no cost) follow-up appointments. Just my two cents based on my own learning journey. Good luck to you!
  • Reply
Who is this miracle surgeon we are anxious to know?
  • Reply
Miracles? I can't confirm that since I haven't had the surgery yet. Quite sarcastic. The point of my post was to share my experiences at my cielo consult and what I've learned in my search this far. If I move forward with my chosen surgeon I will share that information and experiences then.
  • Reply
didn't mean to sound sarcastic at all..sounds like you did a terrific job of researching doctors and found quality and value at the same time. and you detailed it so well..i don't know how to go about such research so glad you shared your consult findings...I'm really.looking forward to learning all about your experience and heres hoping all goes great for you!!!
  • Reply
Thanks for clarifying. Appreciated. Good luck to you as well.
  • Reply
Yes I only have a couple of harvest sites. EVERY place I have researched charges per harvest site. If they TELL you they don't - then you have found the only place I have ever seen that doesn't and we are all - on realself - going to be anxious to know who is harvesting small bits from all over your body and quoting one harvesting fee (and all for half of the cost at Ceilio?) Even if you don't use the facility - for that feature alone it would be generous of you to share the find with the community. I am perplexed as to why you are hesitant to do that. Anyway - here is what I am banking on - and it may not all come together- but I doubt "damage" will be done... I will have some fat removed from thighs and some removed from abdomen and there will only be 300 cc injected in each breast. If I retain 50% that will be 150 cc. I bought a bra insert to test with. Inserting it in my bra provided me with the knowledge that that size increase would be exactly what I wanted. I then put the insert into a measuring cup and filled it to two cups with rice. I took the insert out and the displacement was 140 cc. I don't want C/D breasts. I want to be me...just a better me which is not a large breasted woman. Also, implants were never an option...I am glad I went to a place that didn't offer them (I didn't even know that) - I got tired of wasting my life hearing "all my options". I did not want the expense of a surgery center or general anesthesia so there would be no point in me issuing that either. That said, I didn't get the impression that I was being coerced at ceilio as you did - perhaps because I was shopping for what they offered. I felt quite the contrary. They were concerned that my expectations were in line with what they could do. The enlightenment to all here is to know that if you want inserts, general anesthesia, 750cc transferred per breast and a surgery center then this is not the facility. (I actually don't know any of that - I am just clarifying from jill4444.) I am very happy with my decision and the facility and looking forward to this gentle adjustment to my figure.
  • Reply
Good Luck!!! Be sure to have pain pills and time off work. It took me almost 3 weeks to feel good after.
  • Reply