Breast lift and implants vs fat transfer? (photos)

21 years old. 180lbs. Its obvious I need a breast lift. Fluctuating in weight all my life has caused a toll on my breasts. They were never "pretty" or perky to begin with, SO my question here is would I be able to obtain 350-400cc sized breasts with fat transfer... Or would I need to just get implants?

Doctor Answers 20

Breast augmentation techniques

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Dear Sarah,

Firstly, you do not need a breast lift.  As far as which approach to take regarding a breast augmentation you have the option of a breast implant, or the transfer of fat (adipose tissue) to the breasts.  The former is a traditional and well proven technique. The latter, fat transfer, only will achieve a small augmentation, and is not as predictable in that as fat is introduced to both breasts, the precision in how much of that fat gets incorporated is not present.  It is not uncommon to need additional fat transfer procedures to achieve both symmetry, as well as size.

I hope this helps.  


Sergio P. Maggi, MD, FACS

Director- Austin Plastic Surgery Center


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I recommend implants over fat, particularly if you weight continues to fluctuate.  The implant selection should be based on a combination of your desired size, soft tissue dynamics, breast base diameter and skin elasticity.  I recommend an in-office examination as well as a detailed discussion with a surgeon who you are comfortable with.   Finally, make sure your surgeon is a Double-Board Certified Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS), a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS).

Dr. Desai
Beverly Hills Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
Harvard Educated, Beverly Hills & Miami Beach Trained
Double Board-Certified Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Breast Implants or Fat Transfer?

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Sarah.   First off, you do not need a breast lift!  You do have options, both with pros and cons. Implants have a solid and reliable history with very high patient satisfaction rates but they must be replaced every 12-15 years. Fat grafting has the advantage of using your own body's material to increase breast size, but only small augmentation is possible and it is just gaining popularity and long term results are not yet available. There is always uncertainty about how much fat will "take", increasing the possibility of asymmetry and need for revision. Many plastic surgeons are still concerned about how the fat that did not take looks on mammograms, and if it will increase long term false positive results. Be sure to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to help you navigate this decision. Good luck!

Robert M. Tornambe, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Breast lift

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Thank you for your question. It is hard to tell from the photos whether or not that you need a lift. The problem with fat transfer is that not all of the fat that is transferred takes. Approximately 30-50% of the transferred fat will get reabsorbed. I think you would be better off with implants as the volume that is added is predictable. I would find a board certified plastic surgeon in your area and schedule a consult. 

Arun Rao, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Breast implants v Fat Grafting and do I need a lift?? Ask Dr Ellen

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Although a consult is needed to better assess your breasts, I don't believe you need a lift.

My thought on implants v fat grafting:

1.  Implants are reliable in form, shape and longevity.  Determining the size is based on your goal, tissue quality and breast dimensions.  Trying on sizers is helpful.

2.  Fat transfers to the breasts are not predictable in results and probably will need to be repeated,  In addition, although the concept is pleasing the reality is that some of that fat will liquify and calcify and run the risk of being misinterpreted on future mammograms as a cancer.

3.  If you are worried about gel implants, consider the Ideal Implant which is structured saline and feels like gel but is safer.  And, no MRI needed to detect a leak.

See the link.

In good health,

Ellen Mahony, MD

Ellen A. Mahony, MD
Westport Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

3D imaging for breast augmentation

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I would suggest 3D imaging to help you choose an optimal implant size.  I would do the implant first and see how that looks before diving into the breast lift.

John L. Burns Jr., MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Breast augmentation

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Hello and thank you for your question. You are a great candidate for a breast augmentation and I do not believe you need a lift.  I think you are a better candidate for a breast implant rather than fat grafting, as an implant can have a more reliable outcome.  The size, profile, and shape of the implant is based on your desired breast size/shape, your chest wall measurements, and soft tissue quality.  This decision should be based on a detailed discussion with equal input from both you and your surgeon.  This entire surgery can be performed with a small incision technique.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and evaluate their results.   The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Breast lift and implants vs fat transfer? (photos)

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It's not so obvious to me that you"need" a breast lift, but one (or more) personal consultations are in order for you if you want larger, rounder, higher breasts.  There's a tremendous amount of knowlege, experience, judgment, and communication invested in every case we do to produce for each patient their desired result.  Fat transfer is a distant alternative choice, relatively contraindicated for your primary procedure.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Breast augmentation

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I do a lot of fat transfers and it can be very useful for me as an adjunct procedure. However, I rarely recommend transfer for pure augmentation since implants can give a more reliable and predictable result at less cost. Good luck.

Fat transfer or implants

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Dear sarahescobar,

fat transfer to breasts has its limitations when it comes to size. It can only give you one bra cup size bigger breasts If you wish to get bigger breasts, then implants might be the right choice for you. However, it is hard to tell without an examination. I would suggest you to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon. Only after a thorough examination you will get more information and recommendations.

Daniel Barrett, MD, MHA, MS 

Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery  

Member, Am. Society of Plastic Surgery

Daniel Barrett, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 85 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.