Can You Make Bigger Breasts Without an Implant? New Uses for Fat Transfer

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Moving fat from an area where you do not need it to some place where it might be an advantage is an old concept in the history of medicine. Techniques have evolved making this more possible today than when it was first tried. Fat transfer to the face and to liposuction defects have been used with success for the last decade. Fat transfer to the breast has proceeded cautiously because of two concerns. The first is the fear that the transplanted fat could interfere with the interpretation of mammograms. The second was that the fat tissue might contain stem cells that could stimulate growth of breast cancer cells. Recent investigations have shown these concerns to be unwarranted. Mammograms taken after fat transfer to the breast have been shown to be no more difficult to read than those taken after other types of breast surgery, such as reductions. Fears of tumor stimulation by fat transfer have also been debunked, as fat in a mastectomy site or partial mastectomy has not been shown to increase local or distant recurrance of breast cancer. 

These findings raise hopefulness for lipo transfer (fat grafting) to the breast. Fat grafting has provided good results when used to give more tissue cover over an implant in breast reconstruction. Fat transfer can bring the same advantages in breast augmentation for cosmetic purposes. Using fat without an implant usually requires several transfer procedures to get enough volume. It works best when there is excess loose skin,particularly with a sagging post partum breast. For the woman with a tight skin envelope, a device (called a Brava) is used several weeks ahead of time to stretch the skin. It takes perserverance and motivation on the part of both patient and surgeon to accomplish an enlargement without an implant. The increase in size is less than can be achieved with an implant, but use of a foreign body is avoided. Stay tuned, as it may be the way of the future.
 

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Seattle Plastic Surgeon