Fat transfer procedures have risen in numbers and in popularity in recent years. After the impact of facial fat transfer and the Brazilian Butt Lift, it was only a matter of time before interested plastic surgeons found a way to utilize a patient’s unwanted fatty tissue to enhance the breasts. If you are interested in natural breast augmentation, it is important to obtain information from a board-certified plastic surgeon who has a history of successfully performing this procedure.
Why Fat Transfer to the Breast?
Fat transfer to the breast is a breast procedure used to either completely augment the breast or to enhance the thickness of the breast tissue after placement of an implant. This option provides a more natural breast augmentation, since the patient’s fat cells are used to create new volume. Fat transfer involves liposuction, purifying the fat that is suctioned, and injecting that fat into the breast.
Dr. Pittman is proud to have achieved outstanding results for many of his patients. To learn more about fat transfer to the breast, contact our Washington D.C. office at (202) 810-7700.
The Ideal Candidate
There are two types of patients that are ideal for fat transfer to the breast:
- Patients who absolutely do not want an implant. There are many patients who have an aversion to breast implants and would rather avoid them altogether. For these patients, fat transfer is a reasonable option. It is important to note that the enhancement that can be achieved with fat transfer is modest and not as predictable as an implant. Generally speaking, about 60 to 70% of the transferred fat remains, while the rest is absorbed and goes away. It is difficult to predict how much fat will remain in any given patient.
- Patients with very little breast tissue or very thin overlying soft tissues. Women with very little breast tissue who have implants placed may be at risk for visible rippling in the upper part of the breast. Also, women who have had implants that are too large undergo thinning of the tissue after several years. In both cases, fat transfer can be used to augment the tissues and prevent visibility of the implant.
How to Prepare for the Fat Transfer Procedure?
Our objective before surgery is to ensure that you achieve the best results with the lowest risk. After your consultation, you may receive a detailed pre-op instruction document. This may discuss particulars such as when to begin avoiding certain medications, as well as what those medications are. For example, you must avoid products that thin the blood before having surgery. Certain prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and even some vitamins and supplements can do that.
Before having surgery, it is necessary to stop smoking. If you currently smoke and you know you want to have natural breast augmentation, we suggest that you begin your smoking cessation process now, knowing that it can take some time for your body to adjust to optimal circulatory and oxygenation functions. Smoking is detrimental to surgery, creating increased risks, as well as to surgical outcomes, preventing the proper blood flow to tissues that are healing. In the area of fat transfer, specifically, a lack of blood flow can lead to the loss of more fat cells than we normally anticipate.
Due to the way in which fat transfer works, it is also necessary to reach a point at which you are happy with your weight before undergoing this procedure. While it is necessary that you have a sufficient amount of fatty tissue in one or more areas from which the doctor can harvest fat cells, there is a balance between how much you need to have and how much you want to have. If you are not at your ideal weight before fat transfer, and you lose more than 25 pounds after your procedure, there is a chance that the fat cells that have been transferred to your breasts could atrophy, thus modifying your breast size and shape.
What is the Recovery and Aftercare for Fat Transfer to the Breasts?
There is relatively little recovery and aftercare for fat transfer patients. This can vary, of course, depending on the number of areas of your body on which liposuction is performed. In each area of liposuction, you can expect minor to moderate bruising, swelling, and soreness or tenderness. You may be instructed to wear compression garments in each area to assist with your healing process. The doctor may also place drains to help relieve post-operative fluid accumulation. To facilitate optimal healing, you should take two to three days off work, during which you can rest as much as your body requires. After that initial recovery period, you can return to light normal activities such as a desk job. You must avoid strenuous physical activity for at least a few weeks. Doing so helps the transferred fat cells establish their new blood supply without interference. To manage post-operative discomfort, you may take over-the-counter or prescription medication as instructed.
Is Fat Transfer to the Breasts a Safe Procedure?
The fat transfer procedure is a two-step process, with each step carrying certain risks. Fortunately, they are quite low when the procedure is performed by a highly-qualified surgeon. It is important to understand that fat transfer to the breasts is not as straightforward as breast augmentation using implants. Your surgeon must have a discerning eye and familiarity with the proper depth and application of fat cells to the breasts. Your surgeon’s direct experience with fat transfer procedures is paramount to your surgical outcome. That said, the risks associated with liposuction and fat transfer generally include infection, anesthesia risks, scarring, bleeding, the formation of blood clots, and nerve damage. The discussion of surgical risks is an important one that should alleviate your fears, not build upon them. During your consultation, please do not hesitate to ask questions regarding the prevention of unnecessary risks.
How Long Will the Results of My Procedure Last?
If you’ve been researching natural breast augmentation, you know that there is an expectation for some degree of attrition. Typically, we see about 60 percent of the transferred fat cells thrive. Those that do not establish a new blood supply are metabolized by the body. To account for the expected survival rate, the doctor may inject slightly more fat cells than will be needed for the desired size increase. At first, the results of the fat transfer may look firm, tight, and high. These effects usually fade in two to three weeks as some of the fat cells die off. Those that do establish blood supply are expected to stay in their new area permanently.
Fat transfer to the breasts can achieve permanent results. That said, your body will change with age, which may affect the perkiness of your enhanced breasts. This is also true for women who receive breast implants so it is not a disadvantage found only with fat transfer. Another factor that can affect the long-term appearance of your breasts is your weight. With an increase or decrease of 25 or more pounds, we often see changes in breast volume. This is true even for women who’ve never had breast enhancement.
Will My Fat Transfer Results Look Natural on my Breasts?
One of the reasons more patients are seeking fat transfer breast augmentation is that they desire completely natural results. With an experienced surgeon who has devoted specific focus to mastering the fat transfer process, the results of natural breast augmentation can look and feel completely natural. That said, a well-done breast augmentation using breast implants can also look very natural when breast size and shape are enhanced with strong consideration of natural body proportions. Dr. Pittman has performed many fat transfer procedures and is happy to share before and after images with you during your consultation.
A Leader in the Field
Dr. Pittman was one of the first plastic surgeons to research long-term results and patient satisfaction in women undergoing fat transfer for breast augmentation. In his study, the augmentation in patients undergoing fat transfer was modest. The patient satisfaction was high, mostly because the procedure was combined with liposuction.
"From the moment I walked in, I knew I had come to the right person for my breast augmentation. The atmosphere and staff enhanced the experience further. Dr. Pittman has state-of-the-art equipment, allowing you to see real time what your end result will look like. He provided honest feedback and advice, allowing me to make an informed decision. […] I cannot thank Dr. Pittman enough for the confidence and exceptional work he has provided me. His presentation, social media, patient reviews, etc. speak for the pride he takes in his work! Thank you again!"
Breast Augmentation Via Fat Transfer
At the start of the fat transfer breast augmentation procedure, fat is harvested from trouble areas via liposuction. Popular sites for harvesting include the abdomen, thighs, and rear end. Gentle techniques must be used in order to preserve the health of the donor fat cells.
Once enough fat has been harvested, the fatty tissue will be purified. This process involves removal of unnecessary material and any dead or damaged fat cells. Only healthy cells will remain for transfer.
Finally, the purified fat cells will be injected into the breasts in key areas to create a natural-looking increase in volume. The exact placement and amount of fat will vary depending on each unique case and each patient’s goals. Because not all of the implanted fat cells will survive after transfer, more fat than needed will be injected.
Every patient’s recovery process after fat transfer breast augmentation is different depending on the specifics of their case. Follow Dr. Pittman’s post-surgical care directions as closely as possible for optimal results.