Is Fat Transfer to the Breasts a Good Choice?

I am considering having the fat transfer to the breast procedure performed. I know someone who had this procedure and indeed her breasts did gain a little over a cup size and look great, however, the liposuction to harvest the fat left her lumpy, bumpy and with many scars. It is as though she sacrificed the rest of her body for the increase in breast volume. I want to look good naked, not just with clothes on, so is fat transfer to the breast a good choice for me?

Doctor Answers 7

Is fat transfer to the breasts a good choice?

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Hello! 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, and often also used in augmentation.  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.

The decision to have the procedure performed once again will be on you - if you are happy with the results thus far. It is true that some of the fat does resorb (survival rate of fat grafting is 50-80%).  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 surgery and has added another edge to breast reconstruction for aesthetics with minimal morbidity and complications. It typically takes up to a year to see vascularization of the area, which will ameliorate some of the radiation damage present. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews


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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.

Is Fat Transfer to breast a good choice for me?

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It really depends on each patient.  The ideal candidate has a little excess fat and desires an increase in bust size of about one cup.  It seems your friend had the surgery done by someone who may not have been highly skilled in liposuction.  This brings up a good point.  Not only should you make sure your surgeon is familiar with the techniques fat grafting, but also is skilled in liposuction.  Ideally you should get a two for one, not compromising one thing for the other.

Leif Rogers, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Fat Transfer, fat injections, micro fat transfer, Breast Augmentation

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Thank you for your question on Fat Transfer to enhance breast size and shape.

This is a newer procedure to North America. Many Surgeons doing breast reconstruction do this to enhance the breast shape. I have been performing fat transfer for breast augmentation, adding volume to correct rippling of breast implants, reconstruction and shaping of breast post lumpectomy, post irradiation, and to enhance size for 7 years. My experience has been very good and the increase in size on average is 1 cup. This procedure has many advantages- your own tissue, you can specifically contour the upper pole of the breast, it reverses the radiation damage and scarring, small incsions for fat placement, contouring of the body as well!

Of course the harvested areas should not have contour defornities. The radiologists can differentiate suspicious changes vs grafted fat. There are risks with all procedures and you have to decide whether the risk of this procedure is reasonable vs another procedure for shaping the breast.

With Warm Regards,

Trevor M Born MD

Trevor M. Born, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Fat Transfer to the Breasts

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Until more studies are done about the efficacy, safetey and longevity of fat transfers to the breasts, I would recommend avoiding this approach. The unpredicatbility of improvement and symmetry as well as potential interference with mammographic diagnosis are important negatives, not to mention the potential risks at the donor site as you have seen. Go with a more predicatable and safe procedure of augmentation with either saline or silicone implants. Be sure to get a thorough consultation as to the potential risks of these procedure as well as the long term effects. And certainly see a board certified lastic surgeon.

Theodore Katz, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

Not recommended

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This is not a recommended procedure for many reasons.  One of the reasons, is that the fat tends to resorb, and another is that the fat can cause false positive results from mammograms.

Advantages and disadvantages of fat injection to the breasts for augmentation

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Possibly not. This is one of the risks of surgery and "harvesting" tissue from a donor site. Irregularities may occur. You may incur additional costs related to prolonged and possibly multiple procedures. This must be weighed against the risks of an implant. Discuss your concerns with a plastic surgeon.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.