What is fat transfer for breast enlargement?
This is a procedure suitable for women who do not want implants, do not want a full cleavage and can accept a one cup size increase at best.
Fat transfer or fat grafting is a procedure where your own fat is removed from one part of the body using a liposuction technique and this fat is then reinjected into the breast. The process usually requires some form of preparation process which ‘purifies’ the fat to allow the healthiest fat cells to be extracted for grafting. The latest technique is the Bodyjet system which uses a gentle water jet to extract fat cells and purify healthy fat cells in large volumes.
There is a limit to the amount of fat that can be transferred to the breast and a limit to the increase in cup size. Usually only a one cup size increase can be achieved and this can often take two to three fat transfer operations.
What happens during the operation?
Fat transfer is usually carried out as a day case procedure under general anaesthetic.
Fat is removed by carrying out Bodyjet liposuction from another part of the body where the benefit of fat removal will be seen. The fat is then transferred to syringes and carefully and evenly injected into the breasts.
What is the recovery?
Discomfort after fat transfer is usually very minor and easily controlled with mild analgesics which will be prescribed. Aspirin or aspirin like medication (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory tablets) must not be taken.
The general recovery is only a few days but there may be some bruising which can last 2 to 3 weeks both in the breast and the area where the fat is taken from. A support garment is worn for 3 to 6 weeks after surgery.
The very small scars heal almost imperceptibly.
What are the risks?
The main risk after fat transfer is failure of the fat to heal in its new site after injection. This can sometimes be an unpredictable feature of this technique. It can take approximately 3 months to realize the final result of a fat transfer procedure. A repeat procedure is usually required for breast enlargement since the large amounts of fat often fail to survive completely.
Infection after fat transfer is possible but unlikely and is easily treated by antibiotics.
Occasionally, some firmness and thickening can occur in the fat grafted area of the breast. Although mostly these thickenings subside, rarely minor irregularities may persist and this is called ‘fat necrosis’.