What it is and what’s changing the game
Fat transfer breast augmentation has been around for decades and is not a new science. This is a multi-stage procedure that involves taking fat from one area of your body and enhancing the size or shape of the breasts. Also known as a natural breast augmentation, fat grafting, autologous fat transfer, or breast injections, has become increasingly popular in recent years for women who want a modest increase in breast size without the potential risks and side effects of breast implants.
In 2021, over 22,000 breast fat grafting procedures were performed, which is substantially less than the 350,000+ breast implant surgeries. However, interest in natural breast augmentation is increasing each year.
Procedure Walkthrough with Capizzi MD:
Step 1 – Consultation
The first step is the consultation with your physician to determine if fat grafting is the perfect treatment to achieve your goals and to determine if you are a good candidate for the treatment. Many patients are great candidates but sometimes interested patients do not have the necessary fat stores to have a great transfer result, at which point your surgeon will recommend breast implants to get the look and feel you are going for. At the consultation appointment, you will also be able to ask all questions you have about the procedure and meet your surgical team!
Step 2 – Liposuction
During your surgery, liposuction is the first part of any successful breast fat transfer procedure. Using our Vaser and Power-Assisted Liposuction machines we will remove fat from stubborn areas and prepare it for processing. Depending on the areas you experience a concern with, this step may take anywhere from 1-2 hours to complete. Using these two liposuction methods allows us to preserve the integrity of the fat cells for reinjection and remove the most volume possible.
Step 3 – Fat Purification with Viality
After the liposuction is complete, the fat must be filtered or washed to remove impurities such as blood or oils. Developed by researchers at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital, the Sientra Viality device is our preferred method for processing, washing, filtering, and purifying the fat that will be transferred into your breasts. These methods are FDA-approved and proven by numerous studies to result in higher fat volume retention for patients. It also takes under ten minutes to purify the fat cells, which leads to faster recovery time for our patients. When using Sientra’s Viality fat transfer system, almost 90% of the fat harvested is viable for grafting.
Step 4 – Fat Grafting
Once the fat has been processed, it is loaded into syringes for reinjection. Your surgeon will again make tiny incisions usually disguised in your underarms or at the bottom of the breast, before using a cannula to place the fat in your breasts. Just two incisions per breast are needed to achieve the desired size and shape enhancements of each patient. Get ready to enjoy your new, beautifully enhanced breasts, no implant required!
Ideal Candidates for Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
- Patients with existing breast tissue and existing fat stores
- Patients who desire a natural-looking result
- Patients who want a slight change in shape or relocation of breast volume (i.e. more cleavage)
- Patients who want to achieve an increase of 1-2 cup sizes
- Patients who have kept a consistent weight for at least 6 months
Breast Fat Grafting Recovery
Breast fat grafting recovery is quick and simple. Most patients return to most aspects of their daily life within 2-3 days (this includes driving and work routines). For the first few days, it is normal to experience mild soreness in the breasts and the areas where fat was harvested via liposuction. There may be some swelling and bruising associated with the liposuction areas as well. When compression is used, these side effects should subside within 1-2 weeks.
Your surgeon may have you wear a compression bra for the first few days before switching to a sports bra to provide gentle support while preserving blood supply to maximize fat survival.
Why is Breast Fat Transfer Becoming More Popular
While breast augmentation with implants continues to be the leading cosmetic procedure to enhance breasts, fat transfer has become more popular because there are not the risks associated with implants. This makes the procedure seem more accessible for patients that are seeking enhancement without the worries of breast implants. That said, no cosmetic procedure is without risks so these should be carefully evaluated and discussed with your surgeon before deciding which option is best for your goals.
If you are interested in learning more about a breast fat transfer procedure a consultation appointment is a great place to start. Give our office a call at 704-655-8988 if you would like to learn more, or to schedule your consultation appointment.