Fat Transfer for Correction After Mastectomies. Recovery Time?

I had prophylactic bilateral mastectomies with tissue expanders in August. Exchange to silicon implants in December. My plastic surgeon suggested fat transfer from my outer thighs to correct some creases and step off on top of the breast. He will do both thighs to keep symmetry. I was wondering about the recovery for this type of surgery. I am due to go on vacation one month after surgery. Will I need compression garments? Bruising? Thank you!

Doctor Answers 5

Fat transfer for correction after mastecrtomies. Recovery time?

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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. 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.

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 reconstruction and has added another edge to breast reconstruction for aesthetics with minimal morbidity and complications.  Recovery time is minimal - similar to standard liposuction ~2-4 weeks before swelling and bruising subside.  I typically have garments in place for 6 weeks, which optimizes the result of the area in which the fat was obtained.  The postoperative instructions will vary with each surgeon.  Hope that this helps!  Best wishes!

Fat grafting

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This procedure has become very common place.  I do several a week on Fridays and my patients go back to normal activities on Monday.  If they need compression it is only for a week or two.

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.

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 transfer recovery time

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Yes fat grafting can be safely done after lumpectomy and radiation. It should be done in small increments and allow enough time (at least 4 months). The blood supply is the key to successful fat grafting. Expect you thighs to be a bit swelled for at least 3 months and garments for 6 weeks.

Fat grafting recovery

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Fat grafting is a great tool to contour the breasts of mastectomy . I use it on virtually all patients with implant based reconstruction. The recovery is dependent on where the fat is taken from. Some bruising and swelling is normal . Expect some soreness as well. A compression garment is important and I usually have my patients wear them between 3-6 weeks depending on where the fat is taken. You should be healed and ready for your vacation in a month. 

Recovery from fat transfer breast reconstruction is quick.

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1)  This is often very helpful.  The right technique is crucial to harvest the fat, purify it, and then inject it in multiple tiny amounts with a very thin blunt-tipped cannula.

2)  Women go back to work in about four days, and exercise in two weeks.  Garments not needed.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

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