Breast augmentation continues to be one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in America. However, implants can be unappealing to some women for a variety of reasons. Women who are not interested in breast implants but still want slightly larger breasts frequently ask about fat grafting to the breast.
Fat transfer to the breast is performed frequently as an adjunct to breast reconstruction following cancer. However, fat transfer to the breast for cosmetic breast augmentation alone still remains controversial and has some drawbacks.
Dr. Bajaj is a highly respected and board certified plastic surgeon based in Oklahoma City, OK, where she specializes in a variety of reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. Contact her office today to request a consultation.
About Fat Transfer to the Breast
Fat transfer to the breast is not an alternative to traditional breast augmentation. However, it is frequently used as an adjunct to improve contour irregularities or to decrease the appearance of implant rippling – most commonly in breast reconstruction after cancer. Typically fat is taken from an area of abundance via liposuction, filtered, and then injected into the breast to improve contour irregularities following breast reconstruction and to decrease the appearance of implant rippling.
Fat vs Implants
Implants are the most common breast augmentation technique.
Using FDA approved implants and state-of-the art techniques, Dr. Bajaj routinely performs successful breast augmentation procedures using implants. They are safe, reliable, and can produce predictable results.
While many women may have concerns of using implants for breast augmentation, grafted fat to the breast can also have risks.
When fat is grafted, it is first harvested using liposuction, then it is purified, and injected into the desired location.
The injected fat does not have its own blood supply, but rather develops a blood supply from the surrounding tissue. For this reason, not all of the injected fat will “take.” Typically, only 50-70% of the injected fat will develop a permanent blood supply. Consequently, patients will frequently require more than one procedure to achieve the desired improvement in contour and shape.
Also, fat grafted to the breast can show up as calcifications on mammograms and can confuse interpretation of your mammogram. Other risks include the development of oil cysts, fat necrosis, and infections. For these reasons, injection of large volumes of fat to augment the breast may not always be the safest or best option.
At Bajaj Plastic Surgery, we firmly believe that women should have options and be able to make informed choices when it comes to choosing what is best for their body. We encourage all patients to do their homework and understand the risks and benefits of their chosen surgical procedure(s).
The ideal breast fat transfer candidate will possess the following qualities:
- Healthy and stable body weight
- Nonsmokers or willing to quit (smoking will impair the ability of the fat to “take”)
- Adequate donor fat
- Contour irregularities, asymmetries, and/or rippling amenable to fat grafting
- Have realistic expectations for the outcome of the procedure
It is important for patients to be aware of the drawbacks to a fat transfer to the breast prior to choosing to undergo this surgery. Dr. Bajaj can help you determine if you are a good candidate for a breast fat transfer during a consultation at her office in Oklahoma City.
A fat transfer procedure is performed in three steps: liposuction, purifying the fat, and injection. All three steps are performed in the same surgical session. It is a surgical procedure that is performed as an outpatient. However, they should make arrangements before the surgery date for somebody else to pick them up and drive them home.
Liposuction is not only performed to harvest fat for grafting, but it has the added benefit of body contouring.
Prior to the surgery, Dr. Bajaj will discuss with you the best donor locations on your body. These are areas on your body where you have excess fatty tissue that would be suitable for. Some of the most common liposuction locations include the abdomen, flanks, back, and thighs.
At Bajaj Plastic Surgery, Dr. Bajaj performs tumescent liposuction, which she considers the gold standard in liposuction. Tumescent liposuction requires making a small, discreet incision around the donor location and filling it with the tumescent solution, a mix of saline, epinephrine, and lidocaine. This solution will help minimize blood loss, make it easier to remove the fat, and provide you with long-term pain relief. Through the same incisions, Dr. Bajaj will insert a cannula to harvest fatty tissue. Once she has procured enough fat, she will close the incisions with sutures.
Cleaning the fatty tissue is important for fat cell survival after injection. Dr. Bajaj cleans the fatty tissue using a closed system centrifuge. The centrifuge will separate the fat from other unwanted materials like blood and tumescent solution.
Finally, the purified fat will be injected into the breasts for augmentation. Dr. Bajaj will carefully inject the fat in small increments into the breasts. The smaller the increments in a single location, the more likely the new fat is to gain blood supply and attach to existing fat for survival. Not all of the fat will survive; some fat will be naturally absorbed by the body. Typically, 50-70% of the injected fat will “take.”
Once Dr. Bajaj has completed the breast fat transfer procedure, you will be placed in compression garments and taken to a recovery room for monitoring before being released to go home. However, you will not be allowed to drive yourself home, so it is important that there is another responsible adult available to pick you up.
Recovery is similar to the recovery following liposuction. Some of the side effects are the same, including bruising, swelling, and some discomfort. Dr. Bajaj will also prescribe pain medications to help alleviate discomfort.
In general, you should be able to return to work in approximately three days. However, you should still avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity for at least two weeks. Dr. Bajaj will provide you with more detailed recovery information at the time of the consultation and prior to your surgery date. It is important to follow all of these instructions carefully for optimal recovery and results. Dr. Bajaj will continue to monitor you throughout your recovery with check-ins and follow-up appointments.
You will be able to see the final results of your fat transfer approximately six months after surgery.
Liposuction results will be noticeable immediately and will continue to improve as swelling goes down. Since there are minimal incisions incurred during the procedure, any scarring should heal quickly and continue to fade.
The results from both breast fat transfer and liposuction procedures can be long lasting. However, it is very important that you maintain a stable body weight to ensure lasting results. A healthy diet and exercise regimen should be established prior to surgery and maintained following the procedure.
If you are interested in breast fat transfer procedure – or any of the procedures we offer – the first step is to contact our office in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and request a consultation with Dr. Bajaj.
Dr. Bajaj prides herself on clear communication with clients to help them achieve the results they desire. When you arrive for your consultation, Dr. Bajaj will meet with you in a private room to discuss your surgical goals. It is important to inform Dr. Bajaj of your full medical history; this includes allergies, illnesses, medications, and any previous surgeries you’ve undergone. This information is important for your safety through the procedure.
She will also perform an examination in order to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for breast fat transfer. This will likely also include taking photographs for further analysis.
At the end of the consultation, Dr. Bajaj will offer her expert opinion on whether or not a fat transfer is the best procedure to meet your goals. Depending on her findings, she may recommend alternative or additional procedures. Please feel free to ask Dr. Bajaj any questions that come to mind about the procedure or other services we offer. The goal of the consultation is for you to leave our offices feeling completely informed and confident in any cosmetic decisions.
The cost of fat transfer to the breasts will vary from patient to patient. However, patients should be aware that it is not a less costly alternative to breast implants. The cost of fat transfer to the breasts can add up, especially when it requires multiple surgeries in order to achieve the desired results. Nonetheless, there are a variety of factors that go into determining the cost of fat transfer to the breasts – or breast implants. In order to receive an accurate price quote, it is important to first meet with a board certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Bajaj.
Contact Bajaj Plastic Surgery in Oklahoma City, OK to find out if you could benefit from fat transfer to the breasts.