Fat Transfer to the Breast
What is fat transfer? Can it be used for breast enhancement?
Breast enhancement with autologous fat transfer is a surgical procedure in which your surgical practitioner uses your own fat to enhance and increase the size of your breasts.
What are the indications for a fat transfer to the breast?
Breast enhancement is considered to improve the size and shape of the breasts for women:
- Whose breasts droop or lose their fullness due to weight loss, breast feeding and ageing
- With smaller breast or have one breast larger than the other
- Whose breast implant has been removed due to scar tissue formation
What is autologous fat transfer?
Breast enlargement with autologous fat transfer is an alternative to breast implant surgery. Autologous fat transfer involves extracting fat by a process called liposuction from another part of your body (generally from abdomen, thighs or buttocks) and using it for re-injection into the breast area.
What are the advantages of autologous fat transfer to the breast?
The advantages of autologous fat transfer for breast enhancement over the traditional breast implants include:
- No allergic reaction or rejection since the fat cells from your own body are used
- Involves minimal incisions
- Reduces scarring
- Allows shaping and enhancement of the breasts
- Results in loss of unwanted fat from the lower parts of the body
- Improves the appearance of the breasts naturally
- Yields permanent results
In whom should fat transfer for breast enhancement be avoided?
The procedure is contraindicated for those women:
- Who have breast implants in place
- With very small breasts where the skin is unable to accommodate extra fat
- With extremely sagged or drooped breasts
- Who are underweight and do not have enough fat to extract from other parts of the body
How should I prepare for the procedure?
For better results with autologous fat transfer, you will be recommended to wear an external tissue expander called BRAVA for 10 to 12 hours a day for about 3-5 weeks and throughout the day during the final week prior to surgery. This brassiere gently suctions the breast area in order to stretch the breast tissue for fat injections. The BRAVA system also helps the fat cells to survive by increasing the blood flow to the breast area.
How is the procedure performed?
Autologous fat transfer is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that involves the following steps:
- A local anaestheticis injected in the donor site (the area from where the fat is removed) to numb the area and make you feel comfortable. A cannula, a thin tube, connected to a syringe is then inserted through a small incision in the skin and the fat cells are carefully extracted.
- The extracted fat cells are processed, purified and prepared for re-injection.
- Your surgical practitioner injects the purified fat cells meticulously into the breast under localanaesthesia through tiny incisions using cannulas.
What can I expect postoperatively?
Autologous fat transfer takes about four to six hours and you can return to your normal activities within 2-3 weeks following the procedure. However, strenuous activities must be avoided for about 4-6 weeks. You may experience some swelling and bruising at the injection site. A small amount of the injected fat may be re-absorbed by your body, but that which remains after the re-absorption will provide permanent and natural results. However, full results following the fat transfer are visible only after 6 months.
Does the procedure carry any risks?
While autologous fat transfer is widely used to enhance the breasts, there are a few minor risks associated with the procedure including over-absorption of transplanted fat cells by the body, irregularities in the breast shape and appearance of lumps.
Apart from these, there are a few serious risks that occur rarelyand include:
- Failure of fat cell transplantation
- Severe swelling
- Cyst formation (closed sac of transplanted fat cells)
- Calcification (where the transplanted fat tissue becomes hardened due to build-up of calcium salts)interfering with mammograms (X ray images of the breast).