How Does Fat Transfer Work for Breasts?

I had my implants removed 3 weeks ago. I had a lift 3 yrs ago and 350cc HP implants 2 yrs ago. I felt they were too big and wanted them removed. I like my size but feel deflated. How does the fat grafting work for breasts and what is the procedure entail?

Doctor Answers 7

Fat Transfer Fat Injections and Fat Grafts to the breasts

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Fat grafting into the breasts has become less controversial and is gaining popularity amongst plastic surgeons.  The fat is harvested from a donor area on the patient who will undergo the grafting. The donor site can be the buttock or abdomen or outer thighs.  Tumescent anesthetic is used to numb the donor area and the fat is removed via a syringe or via aspiration suction machine and teh fat collected in a trap. The more gentle the fat is handled, the better the outcome might be.  Then the fat might be centrifuged to separate the local anesthetic liquid which is then removed and the fat cells are now condensed and ready to inject into the recipient tissue of the breast.  Grafting is limited based on the volume of filler being placed as too much fat can decrease the chance of survival because oxygen from surrounding tissues would have to migrate across a greater distance and the central fat cells within a large volume might not receive enough oxygen and then die.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Fat grafting to the breast for augmentation

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Fat transfer to the breast is becoming more popular as our knowledge regarding fat grafting techniques has expanded.  It is now considered safe to transfer fat to augment the breast area. There was a concern previously that this could interfere with mammography-this is not a concern at this time.

This procedure is reserved for very specific candidates.  You must have enough fat in other areas of your body in order to donate to the breast area. The breast skin must be soft enough to expand and accommodate the newly injected fat. It may require more than one treatment as some of the fat may atrophy over time. The size increase is usually fairly modest, perhaps one cup size increase.

Please consult with an experienced plastic surgeon before undergoing  fat transfer to the breast.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 410 reviews

Fat grafting to the breasts

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Fat grafting to the breasts is gaining popularity in the United States as an alternative to augmentation with implants.  However, it is important to know that there is a modest increase in size only and the large gains seen from augmentation with artificial implants is not possible with fat transfer.  It is also important to realize that you must possess an appropriate amount of fat in other areas of your body to allow for transfer to the breasts.  While there was some discussion regarding fat grafting interfering with future mammograms, this has not proven to be true.  While some of the fat may undergo necrosis and lead to microcalcifications, these do not resemble the microcalcifications of breast cancer and can easily be distinguished via MRI of the breasts.  If you are happy with your general size, perhaps a minor revision of your breast lift would give you the results you desire.  Good luck in your pursuits.

Theodore Diktaban, MD, FACS
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Fat transfer to the breast

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Fat transfer to the breast is the latest attempt to use your own body fat and transplant it to the breast. Fat transfer is very successful in many other parts of the body. The experience accumulated in breast augmentation from the united States, Europe and other parts of the world has shown that fat transfer to the breast for breast augmentation is safe. Fat transfer to the breast is done in small amounts so the increase is small and gradual.

Yet as mentioned there is some fat necrosis and calcifications, but those are easily distinguishable on mammograms, oil cysts do disappear with time. The issue of the potential of stem cell transfer, since fat contains lots of stem cells, and the question of stem cells transforming to cancer cells is not substantiated in the lab. This is some of the information that has been published up to now.

Fat transfer is gaining more acceptance in the US. Therefore each woman and plastic surgeon must decide based on the information available in the medical literature.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Fat transfer in the breast for modest enhancement

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Fat was the original material used for breast augmentation. Fat grafting is very good for contour problems in the breast, though the result is modest for augmentation and the risk is considerable. The fat can cause calcifications, cysts and lumps in the breast and throw off mammograms and make self examination difficult. Breast implants are a better bet.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Fat grafting for breasts

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Fat grafting works very well in the breast.  It is widely used in breast reconstruction and is starting to be used in cosmetic breast surgery.  There is often only a modest increase in size with fat grafting, so the procedure may need to be repeated.

Fat grafting will add volume to your breast, so if you are happy with your size but feel deftated, it may be another lift that you need rather than the fat grafts. 

Fat Grafting for Breasts

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Fat grafting is essentially transferring fat from one part of your body to another.  So, you have to have extra fat somewhere on your body to harvest the tissue.  The fat is obtained by a liposuction method.  Once, the fat is obtained, it is usually purified or concentrated and then injected into the area of treatment.  For breast augmentation, it may take several treatments to achieve a full result.


Good Luck.

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.