Fat Grafting for Breast Augmentation in Seattle, WA | PHASE Plastic Surgery
If you’re among the many women who have considered breast augmentation, you may have heard about fat grafting as an alternative to breast implants. While the most common way a breast augmentation is performed is by placing breast implants, fat grafting or fat transfer techniques have been improving and receiving more attention. It is important to understand, however, that it is not often an alternative to breast implants because the maximum that can be placed is much less than the volume of even a small implant.
At PHASE Plastic Surgery and Longevity Institute, board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. Richard Baxter and Dr. Donald Brown are experienced with fat transfer procedures, including fat transfer to the breasts.
If you’re curious whether you would be a good candidate, contact our office to schedule your personalized consultation today.
What Is Breast Augmentation Fat Transfer?
Breast augmentation fat transfer, also called fat grafting, is an option for subtle enhancement without using foreign or artificial devices. Liposuction is first performed to remove fat from a donor location–somewhere fat is more plentiful in the body, such as the abdomen, thighs, or flanks. The fat is removed, purified, and injected into the breast using small incisions. Fat transfer to the breasts is often done to improve irregularities or to improve contours.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Breast Augmentation with Fat Transfer?
A good candidate for breast augmentation with fat transfer is someone who is in good overall health, has excess fat in an area they’d like to address, and is interested in a subtle increase in the volume of their breasts. Generally, we recommend this procedure to patients who want to add only a small enhancement to their breasts.
Candidates should be non-smokers or willing to quit smoking for at least six weeks before their treatment and six weeks after their surgery. Patients should also come to their consultation with realistic expectations for their breast augmentation results with fat transfer. They should expect their results to look natural, with subtle but noticeable changes in the size and shape of their breasts, along with body contouring in the donor area where liposuction will be performed.
What Are the Differences Between Breast Augmentation with Implants and Fat Transfer?
Breast implants are the most common method to achieve breast augmentation. Breast implants provide predictable instant volume and projection. They are ideal for someone looking to increase their breast size by more than a cup size, a more defined cleavage area, and a symmetrical breast shape. However, they present some risks, such as capsular contracture, rupture, and migration—although these can be minimized by selecting an excellent plastic surgeon and the right size and shape of the implant.
For these reasons, many women search for alternative methods to enhance the volume of their breasts, which is where fat transfer can provide an alternative. Fat is a natural part of the human body, so rather than place a foreign object in the body, your natural fat is used. Once the fat settles into its new location, it becomes another natural part of the body and behaves as your existing fat if your weight fluctuates.
There are some limitations to fat transfer that patients should be aware of before choosing this procedure, including:
- There is a limit to how much fat can be transferred in one session. During liposuction, fat cells will be removed from their normal blood supply, which the recipient site must restore. After the purification process, the fat is injected into the breasts, where it must survive until new blood vessels develop to support it. If too much fat is injected at one time, it can overwhelm the blood supply in the breasts, and patients risk developing nodules called fat necrosis.
- Additionally, not all the transferred fat cells will survive under the best circumstances. Typically, 60 to 70% of the transferred fat cells survive, which can vary depending on the patient. Therefore, this procedure can create less predictable outcomes than implants in terms of volume achieved.
Breast augmentation with implants may be better for those looking to substantially increase their breast size. If you want to avoid implants but still desire a substantial increase in breast size and shape, then more than one fat transfer procedure may be required to achieve your desired goals.
Meet Our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons
Discover personalized and transformative aesthetics with our expert plastic surgeons, who combine artistry and scientific aptitude to make a difference. PHASE Plastic Surgery and Longevity Institute offers a personalized and collaborative approach, state-of-the-art care, and an on-site, accredited ambulatory surgery facility. Schedule a consultation today and embark on a journey towards natural beauty and personal enhancement!
How Is Breast Augmentation with Fat Transfer Performed at PHASE Plastic Surgery?
After consultation and pre-operative planning to ensure you are a good candidate for the procedure, you will be scheduled at our accredited surgical facility near Seattle. Your surgeon will carefully mark the areas of your body where the fat will be harvested and transferred. Once the blueprint of what you both want to achieve from this procedure is finalized, anesthesia will be administered.
After you’re asleep, the procedure begins with harvesting fat from your desired locations using gentle liposuction. After the harvesting, the fat is refined and purified by removing blood, oil, and water. Then, each breast is carefully sculpted with tiny amounts of fat each time, making passes through small incisions in the lower fold of the breast and areola. The entire procedure takes between two to four hours.
Recovery from Breast Augmentation with Fat Transfer in Seattle, WA
Recovery is different for everyone, but after a breast augmentation with fat transfer, patients can expect one to three weeks of recovery. Patients can typically return to work after about a week for less strenuous jobs as long as they no longer use prescribed pain medication.
After the procedure, bruising and swelling are normal and to be expected at the donor site and around the breasts. These symptoms will typically subside within a few weeks. Swelling should continue to improve in the first month but can take three to six months to fully resolve. To help with swelling, patients will be given a compression garment that they must wear for three weeks or more; this garment will provide additional support for the new contours. Patients are also encouraged to walk regularly but must avoid strenuous exercise for at least two weeks.
Is Breast Fat Transfer a Permanent Solution?
Breast fat transfer should create permanent changes to breast volume. However, the fat will still react like the fat throughout the rest of the body, meaning if your weight fluctuates, the breast will increase or decrease in size. For this reason, we encourage our patients to have this procedure when they are at a stable weight they’re comfortable sustaining to avoid unwanted changes in their new breast volume.
Can Breast Implants Be Replaced with a Fat Transfer?
This is a common request from patients, and Dr. Baxter or Dr. Brown can certainly discuss breast implant removal with fat transfer replacement. However, in most cases, it is not realistic to expect fat transfer to replace the same volume, even with several sessions. A more realistic goal is to improve the shape of the breasts rather than the size.