If you’d love to have larger, fuller breasts but don’t like the idea of implants, fat transfer breast augmentation is probably right up your alley. This procedure, which takes excess fat from various parts of the body and relocates it to the breasts, produces amazing results and lacks many of the drawbacks associated with breast implants.
Still, many patients are concerned about fat transfer breast augmentation risks. And even though fat grafting is almost always a straightforward and safe procedure, like all surgeries, it does come with some risks and potential complications.
What Is a Breast Augmentation with Fat Transfer?
A breast augmentation with fat transfer procedure enlarges the size of the breasts or changes their shape or projection, using only the patient’s own fat. This is achieved by first performing liposuction on the patient. Fat will be removed from somewhere on the body like the tummy, hips, thighs, upper arms, or elsewhere.
Using a special technique, your surgeon will then process the fat while it is outside of the body. And finally, they will use a syringe to reinject the fat into the breasts, taking care to augment the breasts in just the way you want while creating natural looking contours.
There are a multitude of benefits to fat transfer breast augmentation. The most notable benefit is that you can achieve an increase in your breast size without needing implants. While implants can be beneficial for many patients, they also come with some drawbacks.
For example, patients usually need to have their implants regularly checked for leaks or ruptures. Implants can also cause capsular contracture, which can affect the appearance of your breasts and may even be painful. Finally, some patients are worried that breast implants will look unnatural. And if you are particularly dedicated to the idea of having natural looking breasts, you won’t want any of those “tip-offs” that you have implants.
Finally, another reason to choose this procedure is that you also get the added benefit of liposuction. For example, if you’ve always been frustrated by stubborn fat on your belly, you can have that fat removed while also augmenting the size of your breasts.
Is Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation Safe?
As with any surgery involving anesthesia and incisions, there are some fat transfer breast augmentation risks and possible complications.
Generally speaking, however, this is a safe procedure that has a high success rate. Patients who undergo breast augmentation with a fat transfer are overwhelmingly happy with their results, especially the fact that they are able to enlarge the size of their breasts or change their shape without needing to insert artificial prostheses — implants.
Breast Augmentation with Fat Transfer Risks
The risks of fat transfer breast augmentation range from fat necrosis and fat reabsorption to infection, bleeding, and other risks commonly associated with all surgeries. Let’s go over some of the general risks of surgery first.
General Risks of Surgery
- Excessive bleeding
- Blood clots or DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
- Fluid buildup
- Unexpected reactions to anesthesia
- Nerve damage
- Unfavorable scarring
- Loss of skin sensation and overall numbness
Fat necrosis means the death of fat cells. It is a relatively infrequent occurrence with fat transfer breast augmentation, but it can happen.
Symptoms of fat necrosis include feeling a hard but pliable lump in one or both breasts after your surgery. Lumps may be accompanied by bruising and/or redness around the area.
What your surgeon will recommend doing if it is determined that you have fat necrosis depends on whether these lumps are bothering you or not. Sometimes, when fat necrosis is detected, you and your surgeon may elect to simply monitor the condition as it may end up disappearing on its own.
On the other hand, needle aspiration can also be used to locate the lumps and dissolve them. This is generally necessary if the lumps are causing you pain or discomfort or if they are affecting the appearance of your breasts.
Sometimes, the relocated fat doesn’t die (fat necrosis), but it may disappear as it becomes absorbed by the body (fat reabsorption). This generally happens when the fat and treatment areas are not handled gently throughout the procedure and during recovery.
It is up to the plastic surgeon to be extremely careful and atraumatic with the fat cells as they are removed via liposuction, processed outside the body, and reinjected. Later, as you are healing, it is up to you to be gentle with your body so as not to cause fat reabsorption.
For example, even wearing tight fitting clothing can lead to fat reabsorption. Any pressure, strain, or agitation of the area may cause the fat not to survive the process and instead be reabsorbed by the body. Patients should not sleep on their stomachs or put pressure on their breasts after surgery. They should wear loose fitting clothing, and finally they should consume a healthy diet and avoid smoking for the duration of their recovery.
Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation FAQs
Does fat transfer to breasts last?
Yes, as long as you can avoid fat necrosis and fat reabsorption, the fat that is transferred to your breasts should last indefinitely.
What is the success rate of fat transfer breast augmentation?
Surgeons estimate that between 60 to 80% of fat cells will survive the fat grafting process. This success rate will be higher if you choose a well trained and experienced surgeon and if you are careful to follow all aftercare instructions throughout your recovery.
Which is better fat transfer or implants?
There are benefits to both procedures. Fat transfer is better for modest augmentations and a totally natural look. It also has the added benefit of liposuction on other parts of your body. Implants are better for more drastic breast size increases.
How many times can you do a fat transfer to breast?
It is common to undergo multiple fat grafting sessions when you want to increase the size of your breasts. Most patients are satisfied with one to two sessions.
Set up a Consultation Appointment
Although fat transfer breast augmentation risks do exist, overall, this surgery is very safe and highly effective. The vast majority of patients who undergo the procedure say they are happy they did and satisfied with their results.
If you’ve been considering breast augmentation and are interested in learning more about a breast augmentation with fat transfer, contact Dr. Nicholas Lahar today to book a consultation appointment.