For women who prefer not to have breast implants, but still want larger breasts, fat transfer of their own fat is an option. This can be done under local anesthesia with oral sedation in the office, or under general anesthesia in a surgery center.
Fat Transfer for Breast Augmentation: The Process
Tumescent fluid with Lidocaine is used for numbing, and Epinephrine is used to minimize blood loss – this is first done in the area of the donor fat and the breasts. Special liposuction of the donor fat is performed to keep the fat sterile. No ultrasound or tickle liposuction is used to help maintain the viability of the fat cells. Also, no laser or radiofrequency skin tightening like ThermiTight is done prior to the removal of the fat.
The fat is separated from the tumescent fluid and blood by a centrifuge or by gravity in a sterile fashion. While the fat is fresh and viable, it is inserted through a small cannula into the breast tissue itself. The fat is not transferred in one big ball of fat to avoid the center of the ball dying from lack of blood flow. The fat, also, is not transferred into or just under the skin. The amount of fat that can be transferred is dependent upon the amount of actual breast tissue. Most women can expect to gain up to one cup in size. Then, a dressing and a surgical bra are applied, and a compression garment to the donor area.
Fat transfers can be repeated once the area has healed and stabilized. Dr. Hiers may request a mammogram prior to the fat transfer just to check your tissue.
You may be a candidate for a fat transfer to the breast if:
- You are healthy enough for elective surgery.
- You have not been pregnant nor breastfed in the past 6 months.
- You do not want breast implants.
- You have a realistic goal of increasing your size up to one cup. If you wish to be larger, you should consider breast implants.
- You have a reasonable amount of donor fat available to transfer. If you have no fat, the procedure cannot be done. Also, it is not advised to gain weight just to provide donor fat. As you lose weight, your fat cells will shrink.
With any surgery, there can be risks. The most common risks include bruising, swelling, temporary numbness, bleeding, and infection, and losing some of the volume transferred. Occasionally, some of the transferred fat develops into an oil cyst that is easily recognizable on X-ray and ultrasound. There is a risk of developing fat necrosis where some of the transferred fat cells die and create a hard scarred knot. This is also easily seen on mammograms, ultrasounds, and MRI’s. Occasionally, the area of fat necrosis may need to be removed due to being too noticeable or uncomfortable. After the transfer, you will need to avoid pressure on your breasts up to 3 months. Early pressure on these transferred fat grafts may cause them to die and shrink. If you go for frequent mammograms due to cysts, tumors, or suspicious areas, it may be best to avoid fat transfers to minimize obscuring areas of concern.
Fat can be transferred to many areas of the body very safely. In fact, the first breast augmentation was done in 1890 using a fatty tumor from a lady’s buttock. You will be in good hands with Dr. Hiers who has been doing fat transfers for many years.
If you are interested in finding out more about fat transfer to the breasts, contact us today to schedule your consultation! Let us help you find your beautiful.