FAT GRAFTING TO THE BREAST
Fat grafting to the breast can be an excellent option for a woman that wishes to increase her breast size, desires a more natural breast shape, and does not want to get breast implants or undergo a breast augmentation. For more about breast augmentation surgery in Houston simply call our office at (832) 734-5399 today.
It is not a good option if a significant increase in size is desired. It can also be used in conjunction with other procedures to fill in defects or smooth and camouflage certain areas.
Fat grafting requires harvesting fat from your own body via liposuction so that it can then be injected into the breast. Because of this, you must have enough fat available to donate in order to make this procedure an option. If you’re interested in having this procedure done, visit us at Lift Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING SURGERY?
First, fat is harvested from another area of the body (commonly the abdomen, flanks, or gluteal area).
Depending on how much fat is needed, this is either done via standard liposuction or with a smaller cannula and syringe. The liquid and oil is then removed, and the fat is injected into the desired areas in the breast in very small amounts so that it has a good blood supply to nourish it. After a session of Breast Fat Grafting in Houston, usually about 75% of the fat is maintained.
WHAT WILL MY RECOVERY BE LIKE?
You can expect some bruising and swelling in the area of grafting that will resolve over several weeks. As mentioned, not all of the fat will be maintained, so additional sessions may be necessary to obtain the desired result.
Houston Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation Specialist at Lift Plastic Surgery
Many women consider the breasts to be a symbol of their femininity. Consequently, a woman who is unhappy with the characteristics of her breasts may experience low self-esteem and a decrease in her confidence level. These feelings can negatively affect her professional and personal life. Although breast implants make it possible for women to increase the size of their breasts, some women are looking for a more natural option. The good news is that the fat transfer breast augmentation gives women the natural option they desire. During a fat transfer augmentation, the plastic surgeon uses the patient’s purified fat to increase the size of her breasts. Using this method, the patient can increase her breast size by as much as one cup. In addition, the surgeon enhances the shape of the patient’s breast. With this method, since the surgeon does not use implants, other names used when referring to a fat transfer breast augmentation include minimally invasive breast enhancement, an autologous breast augmentation, an implant-free breast augmentation or a natural boob job.
Why Are Women Choosing a Houston Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation Instead of Breast Implants?
With more than 250,000 women receiving breast implants in 2020, it is clear that breast augmentations with implants remain an extremely popular option. Nonetheless, the possibility of the implant rippling, sagging or rupturing at some point in the future is always a concern. However, by increasing a woman’s breast size using fat that the surgeon harvests from her body and then purifies, there are no concerns about an implant rupturing, sagging or rippling. Due to these benefits, the popularity of fat transfer breast augmentations is on the rise, especially among women who only want to slightly increase the size of their breasts. Furthermore, enlarging the patient’s breasts using her own purified fat poses less risk than that of the traditional breast enlargement procedure that uses breast implants.
Potential risks of traditional breast implant surgery include:
Implant rupture — although the breast implants surgeons use today cause no harm to the body following a rupture, the patient does need to have another surgery to address the ruptured implant.
Capsular contracture — the immune system recognizes the breast implant as a foreign body and as such creates a periprosthetic capsule around it, which can be beneficial. Nonetheless, if the capsule contracts or the body continues adding tissue to the capsule, and it thickens, capsular contracture may result. Plastic surgeons address this complication with surgery.
Breast Implant Illness (BII)
Breast Implant Illness (BII) — another name for this complication is autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA). BII can occur following placement of any breast implant (e.g., silicone, saline, smooth or textured shells).
Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)
Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) — there is a link between breast implants with textured shells and a rare non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Since the majority of women who developed BIA-ALCL were those with Allergan Biocell textured implants, on July 24, 2019, the FDA requested that Allergan voluntarily issue a global recall of these breast implants as well as their tissue expanders. As requested, Allergan recalled the Biocell breast implants and tissue expanders.
The benefits of a minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure include:
- During a fat transfer breast augmentation procedure, the surgeon adds volume to the patient’s breasts, improves breast imperfections and enhances the contour of her breasts.
- A minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure offers patients a natural-looking result.
- Since the surgeon only needs to make small incisions in the fat harvesting areas, there are no incisions on the patient’s breasts.
- Patients enjoy larger, more beautifully shaped breasts as well as a slimmer silhouette. Her slimmer silhouette results from the fat harvesting process.
- Since the only thing the surgeon injects into the patient’s body is her own purified fat, an allergic reaction is of no concern.
- The results achieved are long lasting.
An autologous breast augmentation is a minimally invasive procedure; therefore, it has fewer risks than the traditional breast enlargement procedure. In addition, recovery following a minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure in Houston is short because the patient only needs to recover from the fat harvesting process.
What Issues Can a Plastic Surgeon Address with a Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation in Houston?
A minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure offers women a way to increase the size of their breasts as well as improve the breasts’ shape. During a minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure, the surgeon strategically injects the patient’s purified fat to create her a natural-looking breast slope. In addition, the surgeon can use these injections to improve the projection of a patient’s breasts.
During a minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure, the plastic surgeon can:
- Improve the contours and shape of a patient’s breasts.
- Restore breast volume following weight loss and pregnancy.
- Balance the patient’s breasts if they appear uneven.
The Limitations of a Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
A minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure can enhance breast shape; however, it cannot address severely sagging breasts (i.e., ptosis). Nonetheless, a mastopexy (aka a breast lift) is the procedure that plastic surgeons use to address ptosis. Plastic surgeons can perform a combination breast lift with fat transfer breast enlargement procedure to address ptosis and increase the size of the patient’s breasts during a single surgical session.
What Makes Someone a Good Candidate for an Autologous Breast Augmentation in Houston?
Women who want to increase the size of their breasts by no more than a cup may be good candidates for a minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure in Houston.
During a minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure, the surgeon harvests fat from other areas of the patient’s body (e.g., buttocks, thighs and stomach), purifies the fat and then strategically injects it into the patient’s breasts.
An ideal candidate for breast enlargement via fat transfer is someone who:
- Dislikes the shape of her breasts.
- Would like to have slightly larger breasts.
- Prefers to avoid breast implants by utilizing a more natural breast enhancement solution.
- Has asymmetrical breasts.
- Is at a healthy, stable weight.
- Has lost breast volume due to pregnancy, aging or weight loss.
- Has at least one area on her body with excess fat deposits.
Although breast augmentation using autologous fat is becoming more common, women who need breast reconstruction following cancer and those who decide to remove their breast implants frequently choose the minimally invasive breast enhancement option.
A Consultation for a Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
This consultation can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
After making an appointment for an initial consultation at Lift Plastic Surgery, the surgeon recommends that patients create a list to bring with them on the day of their appointment. This list must include their current medications (please include vitamins, over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements), previous surgical procedures, chronic health issues (e.g., hypertension), as well as whether the patient has allergies to any medications or latex.
Please inform the surgeon about whether the patient uses products containing nicotine, drinks alcohol or participates in recreational drug use. At Lift Plastic Surgery, patient safety is top priority, therefore, please be candid with the surgeon. Without an accurate medication and recreational profile, the patient’s safety is at risk.
The Benefits of Creating This List
By creating this list ahead of time, it is much easier to fill out the registration information on the day of the consultation.
The surgeon wants to know why the patient is interested in having a minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure. It is vital that patients provide the surgeon with a detailed description of what they would like to achieve with a fat transfer breast augmentation.
Previous Breast Issues
Patients with a history of breast disease as well as those who have had radiation or chemotherapy treatments on their breast tissue need to add this information to their list and mention this to the surgeon.
A Breast Examination and Photos
During this appointment, the plastic surgeon examines the patient’s breasts as well as the potential donor areas for harvesting fat.
The surgeon takes measurements of the patient’s breasts. After taking measurements, the surgeon can give the patient some specifics relating to the breast size that can be achieved with a minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure in Houston.
If the surgeon determines that the patient is a good candidate for a fat transfer breast augmentation in Houston, the surgeon or a team member takes photos of the patient’s breasts. In addition, the surgeon may also request photos of the potential fat harvesting areas.
Any photos taken of the patient remain in her file. These photos are confidential because they are part of the patient’s medical record. Lift Plastic Surgery never uses patients’ photos for promotional purposes without the patient’s consent.
Determining a Patient’s Eligibility for a Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation in Houston
When determining if the minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure is the best approach for providing the patient with the results she desires, the plastic surgeon considers a variety of factors.
Factors the surgeon considers while determining the best surgical approach for a patient include:
- The shape and size of the patient’s breasts.
- The amount of skin and breast tissue the patient has.
- Areas of the body that may make good fat harvesting sites.
- The quality of the patient’s breast skin and tissue.
The surgeon discusses what the patient can expect during a fat transfer breast augmentation in Houston. The goal of the surgeons at Lift Plastic Surgery is to have each patient feel comfortable about the procedure he or she is having, which is why patient questions are always welcome.
Creating a Customized Treatment Plan for a Houston Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
The surgeon uses the photos from the initial consultation to create the patient’s personalized minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure treatment plan.
This custom-tailored plan outlines the steps that the surgeon will take to provide the patient with the result she desires. In addition, the surgeon determines which donor areas will make the most impact on her silhouette.
Is it Possible to Breastfeed Following a Fat Transfer Augmentation?
Yes, since a minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure does not affect the ducts connected to the nipples, mothers can still breastfeed after having this breast enhancement procedure.
Preparing for a Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation in Houston
There are things patients can do to make their recovery even easier.
Preparation tips for a minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure:
Since nicotine negatively affects the body’s healing process, patients need to stop using products that contain nicotine for at least four weeks before and four weeks after surgery. Continuing to use nicotine-containing products can result in slow wound healing, which increases the likelihood of the patient developing an infection.
Alcoholic beverages can increase inflammation; therefore, patients need to stop drinking these kinds of beverages for at least a week before and a week after their minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure.
Clothing Tips Following Surgery
For the first couple of days following surgery, patients need to wear oversize tops that open in the front. In addition, wearing slip-on shoes eliminates the need for the patient to strain herself by bending over.
The Post-Operative Bra
Patients given a post-operative bra will receive instructions from their surgeon about how long they need to wear it.
During a fat transfer breast augmentation in Houston, patients receive medication (i.e., general anesthesia) to put them to sleep. Since general anesthesia may affect an individual’s judgement, patients cannot drive for at least 24 hours after surgery. Therefore, on the day of their minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure patients need to bring a licensed driver with them. Patients arriving for surgery without a driver need to reschedule their procedure.
Patients Need a Caregiver for the First 24 Hours
Since the patient receives general anesthesia, the surgeons at Lift Plastic Surgery request that their patients have someone remain with them for the initial 24 hours following surgery.
After surgery, some patients state that they find it more comfortable to sleep in a propped-up position; therefore, patients should have a few extra pillows on hand.
A Minimally Invasive Breast Enhancement Procedure
A minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure is an outpatient procedure that can take anywhere from one to three hours.
Fat Harvesting Areas
Common harvesting areas include the abdomen, arms, buttocks, flanks and thighs.
The Patient Receives Anesthesia
The anesthesiologist gives the patient medication to make her fall asleep.
Cleaning and Draping the Breasts
Once the patient falls asleep, the surgeon cleans her chest and then drapes it. This keeps the breast area sterile, which reduces the likelihood of the patient developing an infection after surgery.
Creating the Incisions
The surgeon creates small incisions in the donor area. These incisions allow the surgeon to inject the tumescence solution and then insert a hollow tube that is connected to a vacuum. A vacuum specifically designed for fat removal. The tumescence solution consists of medications that help reduce bleeding and decrease pain.
Harvesting the Fat
The surgeon uses either liposuction or a syringe attached to a hollow tube (i.e., a cannula) to remove fat from the previously agreed upon donor area.
The Liposuction Procedure
Using the fat harvesting vacuum, the plastic surgeon strategically pulls excess fat into the attached reservoir.
The Surgeon Closes the Incisions
Once collection is complete; the surgeon uses skin adhesives and tape to close the incisions.
Purifying the Harvested Fat
Before injecting the fat into the patient’s breasts, the surgeon washes, processes and refines it. This purification process also separates the strong fat cells from the weaker cells. Thus, allowing the surgeon to transfer the strongest cells possible.
Injecting the Purified Fat
The surgeon strategically injects the patient’s purified fat into her breasts to increase their size and enhance their shape.
The Second Injection Session
Eight weeks after the patient’s first fat transfer breast augmentation session, if she desires, she can return to Lift Plastic Surgery to have more of her previously harvested fat strategically injected into her breasts.
The Third Injection Session
Fat injection sessions can continue every six months until the patient is happy with the result, or until she has used all the fat the surgeon harvested during her first fat transfer breast augmentation session.
How Much of the Transferred Fat Survives?
The key to a high survival rate is injection technique. The experienced surgeons at Lift Plastic Surgery use an injection technique that allows approximately 75 percent of the transferred fat to survive.
Issues Affecting Breast Characteristics After a Minimally Invasive Breast Enhancement Procedure
Since the surgeon uses the patient’s fat to increase the size of her breasts; any natural body processes (e.g., weight gain, aging, weight loss) will also affect her breasts.
How Aging Affects the Breasts
One of the most common signs of aging is a loss of skin elasticity. As the breasts age, this loss of elasticity leads to sagging. Patients who would like perkier breasts may want to consider a mastopexy. With this procedure, the plastic surgeon can address breasts that sag, nipples that point downward, excess skin and overly large nipple-areolar complexes.
What to Expect After a Breast Augmentation with Fat Transfer
Following surgery, patients remain in the recovery area until they are awake. At this time, a staff member may schedule the patient’s follow-up appointment and provide her with information about post-surgical incision and breast care. After reviewing all the information, the surgeon releases the patient to her driver.
Inflammation and bruising is common in the grafted areas. These symptoms are temporary, resolving a few weeks after surgery, however, minor inflammation may linger up to six months.
The number of areas used for harvesting determines what a patient can expect as she recovers. Bruising and inflammation in these areas last about a week.
Women rarely experience pain in their breasts following this type of augmentation. Nonetheless, the soreness lasts about two weeks.
Returning to Work
Patients who do not work a physically demanding job can usually return to work about a week after surgery. Upon returning to work, patients need to remember to start slow.
The Benefit of Walking
The surgeons at Lift Plastic Surgery recommend that their fat transfer breast augmentation patients walk frequently after their surgery. This walking should begin the day after surgery. Walking keeps the blood flowing, which reduces the likelihood of the patient experiencing blood clots.
Resuming Light Exercise
From 10 days to two weeks after surgery, most patients can begin performing light exercises. The exercises the patients perform should not put pressure on the upper body.
Patients must avoid lifting and upper body activity until their surgeon releases them to do so.
The fat transfer breast augmentation undergarments the patient receives help keep inflammation and bruising down. These undergarments must be worn until the soreness subsides, which can take from three to four weeks.
A minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure can increase the size of the breasts by as much as one cup. Patients who would like to increase their breast size even more will need to consider additional procedures.
Approximately four months after surgery, the growth that remains is permanent.
How Long Do the Results of a Minimally Invasive Breast Enhancement Procedure Last?
The results of a minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure are permanent.
Maintaining the Results of a Breast Augmentation with Fat Transfer
Patients can maintain their results by eating healthy, following their post-op instructions, staying well hydrated and avoiding the use of products that contain nicotine.
With structural fat grafting, complications are rare. Nonetheless, the patient needs to know what to watch for.
Potential complications include:
- Placing too little or too much fat.
How Much Does A Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation in Houston Cost?
Every patient is unique; therefore, to determine how much an individual’s breast augmentation with fat transfer costs, the surgeons at Lift Plastic Surgery need to evaluate the patient.
Fat transfer breast augmentation surgery is a straightforward procedure that provides women with slightly larger, beautifully shaped breasts. If you are in the Houston area and would like to learn more about the breast enhancement options available at Lift Plastic Surgery, contact the office.
Contact Houston and Webster, Texas Plastic Surgeons Shitel D. Patel, MD and Tuan A. Truong, MD, FACS, FAAP:
Serving patients in Houston Texas, Webster, League City, Pearland, Galveston, Kemah, Seabrook and all other surrounding Greater Houston, Texas communities and more.