Are There Natural Alternatives to Breast Implants?

 The news today talked about breast enlargement from stem cells and fat injections, thus bypassing the implants. Is this a recommended way to avoid breast implants?

Doctor Answers 7

Stem cell breast augmentation - too early to tell

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The peg legs and hand hooks of pirate amputees have long been replaced by highly functional prosthetic limbs. No doubt that during the lifetimes of many people alive today, mankind will be able to construct an entire new leg out of a person's own tissues. Even more exciting would be to selectively turn on the DNA to regrow an entire new leg, just like a frog can do.

All cosmetic surgery patients and surgeons are excited about the possibilities of using a patient's own tissues to build up parts of their body, either to augment breasts, rejuvenate and tighten skin, or to replace the natural hollowing that occurs in the face with aging. But realize that those considerations should be secondary to the need to make a whole new breast for a woman that has lost it to cancer or a nose for someone who lost it to trauma.

Likewise, fixing spinal cord tissue in paraplegics, replacing brain cells in Parkinson's, and replacing pancreatic tissue in diabetics are the highest priorities for "tissue engineers." It is said that the person who figures this out will probably be richer than Bill Gates!

Everyone expects to see major advances in these areas in the coming years. No doubt, this is the future of plastic surgery. But it is not yet the present. For example, at the time of this writing, there are clinical trials involving small numbers of patients overseas using stem cells for breast augmentation. But this is very early and very preliminary; we need to know whether these stem cells can make new breast tissue without making that tissue susceptible to form cancers! This is a very serious issue. I make a big point of this, because there is a natural tendency of patients and some doctors to emphasize the positives of stem cell augmentation without also discussing the many sobering realities that must be dealt with.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

No alternative to breast implants for augmentation

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The potential for stem cells to solve many medical problems is very exciting and one day such technology may be applied to cosmetic surgery. Unfortunately, this is quite far into the future.

Fat injections are currently being used by some surgeons to augment the breast. It is not widely used because there are both cosmetic issues (asymmetry, rippling, small gain in size) and safety issues (may interfere with mammography). Once more experience is gained , this technique may one day make implants obsolete.

The Brava system uses suction cups to make breasts larger, but the gains are small and the long term effects on the breast tissue are unknown.

Breast implants are the most studied medical devices in history and have been shown to be safe and reliable. If you are interested in breast augmentation, perhaps a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon can allay your fears about the surgery.

Good Luck!

Jeffrey Horowitz, MD
Bel Air Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Alternative to breast implants

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There is a lot of research and innovations in the field of Plastic Surgery.

One of these days we will be able to tissue engineer parts of the human body and enhance the human body. This will be years from now.

There are advances in the implant industry, and we will see more improvement on the design and May be material of breast implants.

As of now, the only way to enhance a breast is by the use of breast implants.

If you have any concerns do not use breast implants and you will have the most natural breast.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Natural alternatives of breast augmentation enlargement with implants

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The most natural alternative to breast implants is using your own tissue. Currently that means a large donor site and large incision on your back or abdomen most commonly. Typically this involves significant costs, recovery, and downtime.

Although currently controversial, Europeans and recently 2 US physicians have begun to document the safety and practicality of fat injections to the breasts. Stay tuned and in the next 2-5 years, this may become a more realistic option.

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

Safe, Equivalent, Natural Alternatives to Breast Enlargement with Breast Implants

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Safe, Equivalent, "Natural" Alternatives to Breast Enlargement with Breast implants, despite the thousands of greed driven claims out there, do not exist.

As regards news horror stories - they are there because people want to see them. News about millions of middle class women having breast augmentation and being happy - not "news worthy". News about strippers having "gigantonormous implants" to get on "American Idol" or about yet another brainless, talentless starlet going from one set of too-big- for-reality - breast implants to a "what-the-hell--was-she-thinking-God-help-her" breast implants - NOW that's the kind of "news" that unfortunately sells.

Yes - eventually all breasts implants will fail and leak (just as every man made product (cars, planes, roofs etc) does and some breast implants will form excessive scarring (capsular contracture). But ask the MILLIONS of American women who have breast implants and who would never willingly part with them how they feel about such stories.

Fat grafting and stem cell transfer to the breast are in their developmental infancy. They MAY develop into something valuable and safe BUT are far from being there AND it may not happen in our lifetime.

For the time being, if you want a good looking breast augmentation, you would need to have a good Plastic surgeon ( use breast implants.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Breast enlargement alternatives

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Recent literature and presentations have been made at plastic surgery meetings showing some work doen with fat injections to the breast for augmentation. No one yet knows what the long term effects will be. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Natural Alternatives to Breast Enlargement

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Enhancement of breast size is appealing for many women at different stages of their lives. Breast implants can add volume to the breasts and enhance a woman's body and most importantly, self confidence.

There are many myths about the safety of breast augmentation. In fact, it is a safe surgery if performed in experienced hands. The choices for implants include saline or silicone implants.

If you are concerned about your breast size, I would recommend the following; begin with a consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon to go over your concerns and the alternatives available. You may be quite surprised and happy with what we have to say.

Unfortunately, at this time, there are no proven safe natural, herbal, topical, or stem cell procedures that can reliably and safely improve breast size.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 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.