Autologous Fat Grafting for Breast Augmentation

The most common type of augmentation involves the use of breast implants. For a long time, this was a woman’s only option.

That is until recently. Now, women can take fat from another part of their body and have it placed into their breasts. This is referred to as autologous fat grafting for breast augmentation.

The result is fewer complications, a more natural appearance but still nearly the same fuller, firmer breasts that implants provide.

Breast augmentation is one of the often performed cosmetic procedures. Full, firm  breasts are coveted by women everywhere, of all ages.

Women who don’t feel that their breasts are large enough, full enough or who have issues with sagging, may want to have them augmented. Now, they have  more choices available to them.

Autologous fat grafting for the purpose of breast augmentation is a pretty simple procedure. Fat is taken from the lower part of the patient’s body, processed and then injected into the breasts. The fat is shaped and contoured so that the end result is fuller, perkier, natural looking breasts.

This is a procedure that women primarily undergo. The appearance of a woman’s breasts is not only important to her but prized by the opposite sex. Large (which is relative), full breasts are a symbol of youth and beauty.

Women of all ages undergo breast augmentation but typically for different reasons. A younger woman may have her breasts done because she is unhappy with their size. She wants them to be bigger. The effects of pregnancy, breast feeding and age are often motivators for older women.

As a woman gets older, her breasts begin to sag and lose volume. Replacing that volume and firming up the breasts can be accomplished with autologous fat grafting.

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Autologous fat grafting for breast augmentation has the potential to be a very successful procedure. When done correctly, it can improve the appearance and feel of a woman’s breast without requiring that she get implants.

So much can go wrong with implants. The appearance of them can sometimes be unnatural looking. They can be painful, leak and cause infection.

It is often necessary to have breast augmented with implants re-done sometime down the line because the implants may dent or become misshapen. An implant can also become encapsulated, which can be quite painful.

It is important to note that autologous fat grafting for breast augmentation is not considered a permanent procedure by many doctors. This is because of the high rate of re-absorption. The fat injected into the breasts will reabsorb into the body.

It is not a question of if but how much. If too much is reabsorbed, the procedure will have to be re-done. The amount of time a typical fat graft lasts is between 6 months and 8 years. However, it depends on the individual and how their body reacts to the procedure.

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Procedure

Step 1: Patient Prep-The patient is prepared for the procedure. They will be given anesthesia and sedation. The harvest site is numbed.

Step 2: Fat Harvesting- The fat will be harvested, via liposuction from the lower portion of the patient’s body. This typically will be the abdomen, thigh, behind the knees or hips.

Step 3: Fat Processing- The fat is processed using a centrifuge. The fat cells are separated and removed.

Step 4: Fat Injections- The harvested fat is injected into the breasts where it is contoured.

Step 5: Recovery- This is an outpatient procedure. After it is completed, the patient will rest for an hour or two and then sent home.

Read more details about PRP for fat transfers.

Recovery

After the procedure, an individual is likely to feel some pain and experience inflammation and bruising. The pain should subside within a week. The swelling may take a bit longer to subside, between 2 and 4 weeks.

Cost

The cost for this procedure will vary. It is new and not widely performed and thus considered a specialty procedure. A patient’s best bet would be to ask the doctor who will be performing it. It is not unheard of for a doctor to charge up to $20,000.

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Complications

The complications associated with autologous fat grafting for breast augmentation include the fat reabsorbing into the body. If too much reabsorbs, the quality of the augmentation will be compromised and it may be necessary to repeat it.

Another risk is the fat becoming hard and lumpy, which sometimes occurs for unknown reasons.

A lack of symmetry is another potential risk but one that depends a great deal on the skill of the physician performing the procedure. This won’t affect a person’s health obviously but it is an aesthetic concern.

Infection at the injection site is an additional risk.  Fat embolism, though rare, is a very serious complication. It can cause stroke, heart attack and even death.

Calcification of the fat in the breast is a concern, not only because it can make the breasts hard and lumpy but also because it can skew mammogram results. The calcified area may hide cancerous lumps during a mammogram.

Questions to ask your doctor

  1. Will autologous fat grafting for breast augmentation give me the look I’m going for?
  2. Will I have to worry about the fat re-absorbing?
  3. Will the results be similar to that of breast implants?
  4. What type of side effects can I expect?
  5. How much does this procedure costs? Does your price include retouching?

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