Fat transfer Complications.

How good or bad is fat transfered to your breasts. Does it give u complication later on

Doctor Answers 6

Fat grafting complications

Thanks for your question. By "good or bad" to your breasts I think you are asking if the fat effects you breast tissue in any way. As fat grafting to the breast became an established technique there were initial concerns that the stem cells transferred in the fat grafts might induce cancer in the breast. However this has not been shown to occur, and in fact fat grafting has been shown to improve tissue quality, such as irradiated skin or breast tissues following cancer treatment. So "no" the fat itself is not bad for your breasts, and as such does not give long term complications. Complications can occur such as cyst formation, and these cysts can give a calcified appearance on mammograms, but to an informed and well trained radiologist these will be identified as cysts and not cancer.


Cambridge Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Fat Transfer to Breasts

Thank you for your question. Fat grafting the breast is a great procedure for a modest increase in breast size and shape. The issue with breast fat grafting is its unpredictability - which  is in contrast to implants. Fat grafting to the breasts is associated with (1) decreased volume overtime (2) hard lumps/fat necrosis (3) difficulty with cancer detection. In our practice, we counsel patients that they may require second procedures for increased volume, that they may require biopsies for palpable masses that are actually fat necrosis and that they should be screened by an expert mammographer in a center with access to MRI.  Fat grafting to the breast should not be entered in without careful thought and an understanding of these potential issues. 

Anthony J. Wilson, MD
Portsmouth Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Fat grafting breasts work well for smaller augmentations

or to improve contours following other procedures.  Risks include resorption, oil cysts, lumps, and calcifications but nothing really serious.  Technique makes a huge difference in graft survival ask your surgeon about the technique they use... and compare it to others.  In general, fat should be processed in a closed system like PureGraft, fat injected in multiple planes and small amounts, and harvested with low pressure suction.  At least 50% of what is grafted should survive.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Breast Fat Transfer/ Breast Augmentation/Breast Implants/Anatomic Gummy Bear Implants/ Silicone Implants/Breast Implant Revision

Thank you for your question. About 60-70% of the grafted fat survives.  At 6 months you will have a good idea of your results. Some women have a second or third procedure which continues to increase your volume safely. The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam. Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative breast surgery. Best of luck! Dr. Schwartz Board Certified Plastic Surgeon #RealSelf100Surgeon

Fat transfer Complications.

Dear jessyre,

Fat transfer can be a really wonderful technique to improve the volume of the breast without the use of an implant. What is most important is how good of a candidate you personally are for the procedure. Your size goals, skin laxity, adequate donor site for fat harvest, and understanding that more than one procedure may be needed are very important when it comes to patient selection and surgical planning. 

I use fat transfer more frequently in patients who have just asymmetry that they are trying to improve, those having a lift who want just a little more volume, in patients who are having implants removed and want to maintain a bit of volume (often with a lift), and those who are wanting liposuction or body contouring and also a smaller augmentation (generally a cup size or less). 

I estimate that about half of the fat placed will take, and the amount placed intra-operatively is determined on how tight or firm the breast gets, and how much fat is available through liposuction. I have found complications to be very low. The biggest concern is that the procedure will change your physical and radiologic exams when it comes to breast cancer surveillance. A baseline mammogram, sometimes an Ultrasound, and less commonly MRI are all considered before the procedure based on your age, exam, and family history. Once healed these can be repeated (on the appropriate schedule) to document changes in your breast from surgery. This becomes your new baseline. It is theoretically possible to develop cysts as the fat resorbs or some scar tissue from the procedure (which is also true with reduction, lifts, liposuction, and augmentations). 

Because one in eight women will likely develop breast cancer in their lifetime women should follow general guidelines with exams and screening. I warn patients who have surgery that there may be an increased risk of needing a biopsy to rule out cancer if something looks new and suspicious, but I have only had one patient in over 10 years of doing fat transfer require a biopsy. She already had breast cancer and fat injections had been used to improve her reconstruction results, which is a very common use for fat injections.

Start with a consult to see if you are a good candidate for this procedure.

Stacey Folk, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

The magic and myth of fat transfer to the breast

  • When people learn that they can move frat from an unwanted area to the breasts to give a fuller augmented breast they think it is magic.  In many respects it is.  The breast feels perfectly natural. There is no implant. There is virtually no scar. The area that fat is taken from looks nicer.  The breast is augmented. Many great things.
  • However there are limitations.  The most important is not to place so much fat that it does not survive.  In general I would advise patients that you can double the size of your breasts at the time of surgery. This would give you a breast that is 50-70% bigger when everything has healed.  For someone with a full breast they can have a lot of fat.  For someone with a small breast, it may mean that the first treatment is done with less fat than the final goal, meaning a second surgery is required to reach you goal.  More fat can be placed at the second surgery as the breast is now larger. 
  • You also have to have fat to donate.  I see a lot of very thin patients that only have fat in the buttocks which is often an area they do not want to remove fat from.
  • The most important consideration is choosing a surgeon that does a lot of fat transfer.  Excellent surgeons that don't do this much or lack the patients to do it meticulously, will not get ideal results.  Every step of the way, from gentle fat harvest, through preparation of the fat for injection, and precisely placing the fat one drop at a time are all important.
  • The other limitation is that fat does not provide shape to the breast the same way that an implant does.  It is probably best in the setting of a nicely shaped breast (or to place along with a breast lift).
  • So fat transfer to the breast can produce beautiful natural fuller breasts but there are some things that your surgeon should talk to you about to make the best choice for you.
  • Dr Rodger Shortt is a plastic surgeon in Oakville.  He strives to be the best plastic surgeon and is one of the few plastic surgeons in Canada with a top 5-star rating on Realself, RateMD, and Ontario Doctor Review.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor and the Director of Cosmetic Surgery Training for McMaster University.  He serves patients from the GTA including Toronto, Oakville, Mississauga, Georgetown, Brampton, Burlington, Milton, and Hamilton.

Rodger Shortt, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 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.