The Benefits and Limitations of Breast Augmentation via Fat Grafting
When most people think about breast enlargement surgery, they think of implants. However, breast augmentation via fat transfer promises to give women larger breasts using only their own fat tissue. This process is growing in popularity because it eliminates the need for implants by using fat from one part of the body to enlarge the size of the breasts. Because there are no implants to remove and replace, is this procedure permanent? Because there is no chance of rupture, deflation, or displacement, is the procedure completely safe?
Though breast augmentation with fat grafting sounds like the perfect solution for women who want larger breasts but are reticent to get implants, the procedure is a long way from being a viable alternative to breast implants. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has lifted its 18-year moratorium (1987-2005) on using fat grafting for breast augmentation, there remains serious questions about the procedure. The two most pertinent questions are:
- Will fat grafting obscure pre-cancers and cancers, making mammograms a less effective tool for the early detection of cancer?
- What is the best procedure for ensuring safe, consistent, long-term results?
Who Are Good Candidates for Fat Grafting?
Because serious questions about the procedure have yet to be answered, surgeons are currently very selective about choosing candidates for breast enhancement via fat grafting. Currently, women will be considered for this technique if they:
- Have modest augmentation goals (1 cup size or less)
- Have mild breast asymmetry
- Are not candidates for augmentation using breast implants
- Are likely to get bad results with breast implants
- Are breast reconstruction candidates including those who have been treated with radiation
- Are prepared to comply with strict peri-operative care instructions and guidelines
Men are also good candidates if they have had an overcorrection of gynecomastia.
If you have a personal or family history of breast cancer, or have an elevated risk of breast cancer (including the presence of certain forms of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes), you are not considered a good candidate for breast augmentation with fat grafting.
Is There a Future for Breast Augmentation With Fat Grafting?
The process is available – Fat grafting techniques have long been used to achieve positive results for both men and women in facial contouring and buttock augmentation. Fat grafting for breast enlargement does possess some risks (lumpiness, inflammation, fat necrosis, fat absorption), but the right candidate minimizes these risks.
The desire is there – most women would be happy to have the chance to move fat from their thighs of buttocks to their breasts.
With an increasing number of doctors performing this procedure, the surgical techniques will improve, more women will view it as a viable alternative to breast implants, and the process will become as routine as other fat grafting procedures.
If you would like to learn more about this alternative to breast implants and see if breast augmentation via fat grafting is right for you, please call or email Dr. Otto J. Placik today to schedule an initial consultation.
Please email or call our Chicago or Arlington Heights plastic surgery offices for more information on any of the above plastic surgery procedures.