Recovery for breast augmentation with implant vs recovery for breast augmentation with fat transfer. Which is easier?

What are the recoveries like for the two procedures? Which recovery is easier ( less painful, shorter, let's you return to everyday activities quicker)

Doctor Answers 12

Don't base your choice of surgery on the recovery -- base it on the result!

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Technically, a fat graft would hurt less on your chest, but you have to get the fat from somewhere and THAT's going to hurt.  I've often done liposuction is the same setting as a submuscular breast augmentation and for some, the lipo was more painful than the implant!  The two procedures yield 2 totally different results and fat grafting can be unreliable.  So the choice should be made on what result you want and what you think is best for your body/situation -- not the recovery.  Good luck.

Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Recovery for breast augmentation vs. fat transfer to breasts

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Dear Lisaham,

Thank you for your clinical question. Breast augmentation with implants when placed in the subpectoral area under the muscle plane can be quite painful for several days. There is often muscle spasms and significant discomfort. Recovery from fat grafting to the breast and breast augmentation using autologous fat has a donor site where the fat is harvested from. This is generally mild to moderate bruising type of pain much less so than the operative site of breast implants. The injection site in the breast can be bruised and uncomfortable following fat grafting to the breast, but in general most patients describe the pain of fat grafting to be far less than the pain and discomfort of subpectoral breast augmentation even including the additional donor site.

It is important to remember that all patients are different, perceive pain differently and in general a final result will require improving and recovering with some discomfort.

I hope this information has been of some assistance and best of luck.

For more information, please review the link below and also view the breast augmentation pages.

R. Stephen Mulholland, M.D.
Certified Plastic Surgeon
Yorkville, Toronto

R. Stephen Mulholland, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Recovery for breast augmentation with implant vs recovery for breast augmentation with fat transfer. Which is easier?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
There will be added recovery from liposuction donor site and significant bruising of breasts with fat transfer Either way plan a two week recovery with decreased activity and rest. Bruising after fat can last 3-4 weeks, much less common with implants.

Breast augmentation recovery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Breast implant recovery is relatively quick and is limited to breast pain.  With fat transfer techniques you will have the added need to recover from the liposuction part of the procedure which is also painful.

John L. Burns Jr., MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Healing of fat grafts vesus breast augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
These are two completely different procedures. Neither have down times more than a week or so. Fat grafted breasts can be swollen and tender for a week to ten days. About the same for breast augmentation. There is no muscle spasm with fat grafting. The fat graftig has donor site discomfort as well that lasts a week or so. Ask a plastic surgeon about the pros and cons of each. Fat grafting by itself is not for everyone. Good luck

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Recovery from standard breast augmentation is considerably quicker than fat injection augmentation.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Fat injection is a variant customary way to augment the breast. The injected material has to become vascularized. The injections are directly traumatic to the breast proper. The final result will take much longer than with a conventional breast augmentation.

Recover for breast augmentation vs. fat transfer

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
hi, Lisaham.  Both the implant and fat transfer are not very painful procedures although that will depend on your pain threshold. Your breast discomfort will improve in couple days.  However, you will have more discomfort on your donor site from the fat harvesting.  Please consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to find out the best option for you.  Best regards.

Completely different operations

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Hi Lisaham,

I would first begin by saying that these are two completely different surgeries despite the fact that the end result is to enhance the size of your breasts.  Please talk with your local board-certified plastic surgeon about each in detail and make your decision based upon your desires and not healing time.

In short I feel the recovery for fat transfer to the breasts is longer and more rigorous, because there are two surgical areas to heal: the donor site where the fat is taken from and the recipient site where the fat is placed. 

Hunter Moyer, MD
Rapid City Plastic Surgeon

Breast augmentation via breast implants or fat injection

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thanks for posting your question. I am happy to try and help you. It is important to remember that a board certified plastic surgeon will be your best resource when it comes to an accurate assessment of your situation, and concerns.

The breast implants will be slower recovery by only a few more days. The position of the breast implant will have significant role in the recovery. Typically fat transfers to the breast a relatively small sized enhancements and are not a difficult recovery.

Best wishes,

Dr. Michael J. Brown
Northern Virginia Plastic Surgeon

Recovery after breast augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
The recovery from sub muscular breast augmentation is not that difficult if it is performed with care by a skilled surgeon.  After breast implant surgery, I advise the patients to take one week off from work. At that point we take out their stitches and teach them the implant massage technique. We suggest 5 times per day with the massage and no bra for one month. The patients may return to work, but may not engage in any strenuous activity. At one month, the patients start to wear a soft cup bra with no underwire and can start low impact cardio. At two months they can wear an underwire bra and engage in more strenuous physical activity. Breast massage continues forever, although only once per day.

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.