Is Fat Grafting Safer That Traditional Breast Implants ?

Doctor Answers 10

Fat grafting to breasts

Fat grafting is an evolving technique for primary breast augmentation. The long term effect of fat injecting into a breast is not known, and that is why many surgeons are hesitant to perform it. Also reliability of fat injection to an area is not as accurate as an implant at this stage.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

The two biggest drawbacks to fat transfer for breast enhancement are...see below.

The two biggest drawbacks to fat transfer for breast enhancement are:

#1. Unpredictability (using the BRAVA first will help though) of fat survival

#2. The possible difficulties in detecting breast cancer if excessive scar tissue forms.

Those are this issues that are being researched now.

There is a growing body of evidence that the procedure is safe.

I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 183 reviews

Fat grafting vs. breast implants

This question has been well answered. The way to think of it is that it depends on what you mean by "safe" and the choice is very much apples to oranges. I would characterize it as breast implants have known, predictable, and well-established results with fairly well understood trade-offs, benefits, and risks. Fat grafting to the breast is not equivalent in any of these parameters although it may end up as being both safe and having some advantages and disadvantages over synthetic breast implants. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Fat grafting to normal, healthy breasts for breast augmentation is NOT universally accepted as safe

Hi there-

You are mistaken if you have been lead to believe that fat grafting is even as safe as breast augmentation with implants.

The fact is that at this point breast implants are the most thoroughly researched medical device in history, period. And all of this research has proven them to be safe and effective for their intended purpose.

On the other hand, fat grafting to the breasts is a relatively new procedure, and is accepted as generally safe for RECONSTRUCTION of the breast after breast cancer surgery (because the patient has ALREADY HAD breast cancer and had their breast removed).

However, because not all of the fat cells survive the grafting procedure (regardless of whether you are grafting to the face, the buttocks, or the breasts), and because when some of these fat cells die they produce scar tissue in the breast, and this scar tissue can be very difficult to distinguish from the micro calcifications seen on mammography in cases of breast cancer, there are many, many plastic surgeons and radiologists who continue to express deep concerns for the safety of this technique. Indeed, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons has expressed concernabout the wisdom of doing this on healthy normal breasts.

There is no doubt that patients WANT this to be safe. Nor is there doubt that some surgeons are making a lot of money by performing the procedure...But the research and time required to prove the procedure is safe and will not lead to unnecessary fear, stress and biopsies in patients years after the fact simply does not exist at this point. Be careful.

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 159 reviews

Fat grafting is not safer than implants

Implants have been in use for many, many years and are FDA regulated. There is a huge body of research and knowledge with respect to implants. Fat grafting is a newer procedure. There are concerns with respect to mammography, risk of breast cancer and differential fat resorption, as well as the longevity of the treatment. If you are considering surgery at this time, I would personally recommend implants which also afford the potential for enlargement of varying degrees and dimensions.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Avoid fat grafting

Breast augmentation has a long track record of safety and reliability.  Fat grafting is a relatively new procedure with unpredictable short and long-term results.For example, there is serious concern as to whether fat grafting (since it contains stem cells) may increase a woman's risk for breast cancer. Breast implants have not been linked to breast cancer.  Hope this helps. 

Victor Ferrari, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Fat Grafting for Breast Augmentation

Data is still being obtained regarding the use of fat grafting for breast augmentation.  I think fat grafting is not necessarily safer, but may be an alternative to implant-based augmentation.  Until further safety data is obtained, my primary concern is the calcified granulomas that can often occur after fat grafting.  These granulomas are benign, but can be difficult to distinguish from various types of breast cancer on mammograms.  This confusion could lead to unnecessary biopsies or further imaging.  In the big picture, implant-based augmentation is a safe and reliable procedure, which does not generally affect the detection of breast cancer.

Jarrod Little, MD
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 reviews


I do not believe that is either safer, or better. The results I have seen  show only at best a small enlargement, or none at all. Standard augmentation is a safe procedure with long lasting results that are predictable. 

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Is Fat Grafting Safer Than Breast Implants?

At this point, no one knows.  While there is a wealth of data from hundreds of studies and years of follow-ups with breast implants, there is a relative lack of data regarding the long-term safety of fat grafting for breast enhancement.  Short term studies of fat grafting have been encouraging but there is more study needed which is why the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery(ASAPS) and The American Society of Plastic Surgeons(ASPS) have research programs underway to collect the required data.  You can learn more about these studies by going to or,  If you choose to have fat grafting enhancement of your breasts, please choose one of the plastic surgeons working in these research efforts so that your results can be included in the important data needed.

Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Fat grafting, breast augmentation

Safety is not the issue.  Consistency is the issue.  You will get a much better and consistent result with the use of a breast implant.  You may or may not have enough fat to transfer and if you have enough, the fat may melt away and give a strange result.  Fat transfer is fine for small irregularities of the breast or chest wall. 

Jay H. Ross, MD, FACS
Palm Harbor Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 31 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.