While fat grafting continues to grow in body contouring and buttock augmentation, using it to add volume to the breast is also popular. It’s an appealing idea to many women who desire bigger breasts but don’t like the thought of implants. Breast augmentation with fat is becoming increasingly popular as a way to move excess fat from one part of the body to the breasts. It works great in many cases, but there are some limitations.
Dr. Kristi Hustak explains when to consider fat grafting and why it should always be performed by a board certified plastic surgeon.
Fat is Liquid Gold
Breast augmentation is a wildly popular plastic surgery procedure, but yet, many, many women do not want something artificial in their bodies. For those patients, fat transfer may be a good option, one reason why the procedure is getting the thumbs up from patients and surgeons. “I love fat,” says Dr. Hustak, a board certified plastic surgeon in Houston. “I love borrowing fat from one place and putting it where you want it, like in the breasts.”
Hustak says, during the procedure, fat is harvested from the hips, thighs or even the tummy using liposuction and then reinjected into the breast for a very natural look and feel. She says the United States is actually late to the game. “Fat grafting has been used in the world for a very long time,” she explains. “I think in the United States we were late adopters, and that was because of safety. We wanted to make sure that fat wasn’t going to induce cancer in a cancer prone region.”
Hustak indicates the procedure is safe. “Now that we’ve learned and know that it is safe to transfer fat, we are using it, including for placement in the breasts. It will not replace breast implants because I’ve tried.”
Who is a Candidate?
Fat transfer could be the right choice for any woman who isn’t trying to change her breast size dramatically, or someone who may be opposed to breast implants. “I think you might be able to get a cup size difference using transfer,” shares Hustak. “In a place like Texas where everything is bigger, a cup size won’t cut it!” She indicates fat transfer isn’t the best option for most women seeking breast enlargement, but she says it is very effective for breast cancer patients. “Where I think it’s a great adjunct is contour. Breast cancer patients need extra contour around a flap or implant and it’s often perfect for rounding out a breast.”
Hustak says fat grafting can be a viable option for slender women who may feel overwhelmed with an implant. “I think it also works great for very thin women who have some disability. It’s so natural,” she says. A personal consultation is the best way to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure.
The Harvest Technique
There are many benefits to fat transfer to the breast. Hustak says the end results look like the “real deal” because the procedure uses the body’s own tissue. During the procedure, fat is harvested from one area then transferred to the breast, creating a flatter shape in the tummy, hips or thighs. Hustak says transferring the fat is a delicate process. “When we fat graft the breast, we want to make sure that all the fat we transferred has the best chance of survival because not all fat you transfer lives. We help it live by establishing a blood supply where you put it. If you put a big glob in one area the center of that will die because it is no where near a blood supply.”
This delicate technique requires a skilled hand to achieve a good result. Patients are wise to consider a board certified plastic surgeon, according to Hustak. “This isn’t something that you go to a Med-Spa for because fat grafting is very technique-dependent and it’s important to have someone who knows what they are doing. Every board certified plastic surgeon is trained in the technique of harvesting and injecting fat,” said Hustak.