Fat transfer or fat grafting is quickly trending to be one of the most popular and asked about procedures. From facial fat transfer to butt fat transfer (also commonly referred to as Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL)), patients are requesting to use their own fat to contour their body or improve facial aesthetics. Fat grafting was actually first done in 1893 and has become increasingly more popular for cosmetic applications in the last twenty years.
Fat is harvested by liposuction from one part of the body and then injected under the skin to improve overall shape, volume, or prominence of a body part. The benefit of this approach is you remove volume from where you don't want it (waist, lower back, and inner and outer thighs), and put the volume where you do want it (typically outer and upper buttock, cheeks, or breasts).
To optimize the amount of fat transferred, Dr. William Albright (board-certified plastic surgeon in San Antonio) utilizes the most current technology and techniques. This consists of carefully harvesting the fat through liposuction and injected the fat in an area surrounded by healthy tissue and in a structurally sufficient space. The healthy tissue ensures the fat cells will receive oxygen and nutrients immediately to increase the chance of survival. Dr. Albright does not recommend using any type of thermal, laser, or smart liposuction device. Fat cells will be damaged with these devices and it is crucial to ensure a successful fat transfer for the fat cells to be healthy to survive the transfer.
1. Size – This is literally a thousand dollar question. It is very important to have realistic expectations for breast fat transfer. Often photos that are shared are less than six months after fat transfer. The fat is still stabilizing so any photo taken before six months should be discounted. Typically only 50-70% of fat survives that is transferred. As far as size difference at MOST one cup size increase may happen. In general a more realistic expectation is 1/2 cup size.
2. Shape – by no means, does fat transfer to the breasts change the shape of the breasts. In most cases, women desire more upper pole fullness or more volume in the breasts at the top.
For fat transfer there is nothing to hold the fat at the top of the breasts. With time, it settles to the bottom of the breasts which is very similar to how most breast age. Fat transfer will not yield the same result as an implant. An implant will maintain its shape and upper pole fullness.
3) Cost – for most women they anticipate this to be a quick procedure where they get some liposuction and great breasts. Win - win, right? Typically the results are underwhelming and breast augmentation is less expensive (see link for our current breast augmentation pricing).
In conclusion, breast fat transfer can be a good fit for certain woman (especially those opposed to breast implants). More questions about breast fat transfer? Consult with Dr. William Albright voted #1 for cosmetic surgery in San Antonio!