What are the potential risks of fat transfer breast augmentation?

Fat Grafting Breast Augmentation

What are the potential risks of fat transfer breast augmentation?In recent times, cosmetic surgeons and other medical professionals have started offering fat grafting as an alternative to implants for breast enhancement cosmetic surgery.

This technique is already widely used in Japan and various parts of Europe. Now it is also becoming popular in the US.

The plastic surgeon may use a tissue expansion system during the weeks prior to the fat transfer breast augmentation surgery to enhance the outcomes. The patient may have to receive touch-up injections to retain their enhanced shape if they choose to undergo this surgery.

Potential Side Effects

Some side effects of fat transfer breast augmentation have been observed as follows:

The development of oil cysts or calcification may occur if the injected fat cells are unable to survive in the breasts.

This may occur as the breast tissue is distinct from fat. In order for the injected fat to survive in the breast tissue, it has to be distributed in a careful and uniform manner. If calcification happens, they can be viewed on mammograms, which may interfere with the detection of breast cancer.

The stimulation of cell growth by fat cells following the injection of fat cells, which doctors suspect may cause dormant breast cancer cells to proliferate. The body may reabsorb the injected fat cells causing the loss of breast volume over time. This typically occurs in the long-run.

Other risks associated with the plastic surgery procedure include:

  • The general risks of anesthesia
  • Risks of infection
  • Bleeding
  • Accomplishing a lesser breast size than anticipated

In some cases, the patient may require more than one session to achieve the desired size and shape of the breast. Following a fat transfer, the patient will experience inflammation, bruising, and some discomfort, which may last a couple of days or up to two weeks.

Steps to Mitigate Risk

Before the surgery:

  • In case the patient uses blood thinners, she will be asked to discontinue their use at least 10 to 15 days prior to the procedure.
  • If the patient smokes, she will be required to stop smoking at least two weeks ahead of the procedure.

The following is advisable after undergoing a fat transfer for breast augmentation:

  • Refrain from aggressive physical activity including working out and sexual activity for up to four weeks after the procedure
  • Do not lie on the stomach for the initial two to three weeks following the procedure
  • The patient will need to wear compression garments on the liposuction areas as well as sports bras for four to six weeks after the surgery

What are stem-cell enriched fat transfers? Are they effective? Could they be dangerous?

Fat transfers can be enhanced with stem cells. Normal fat cells comprise a small amount of adipose-derived stem cells. Similar to other stem cells, these adipose-derived stem cells can be altered to mature into other kinds of cells.

It is both a good and bad thing that stem cells can convert into other types of cells. The benefit is that these cells can help regenerate missing tissues to either replace missing tissue or add to existing tissue. The negative aspect is that stem cell research is still not conclusive, and possible medical risks need to be ruled out.


Questions? Book a Consultation Now.

Contact Houston / Webster, Texas Plastic Surgeon Shitel D. Patel, MD at Lift Plastic Surgery.

For more information on cosmetic procedures and treatments provided please schedule a consultation.

Serving patients in Greater Houston Texas, including but not limited to Webster, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Katy, Friendswood, Pearland, League City, Richmond, Spring, Humble, Kingwood, Stafford, Cypress, Fulshear, Missouri City, River Oaks, Piney Point, Hunters Creek, Bunker Hill, Southside Place, Afton Oaks, Tanglewood, Crestwoods, West University Place, Southside Place, Woodland Heights, Hyde Park, Timbergrove, Montrose, and all other surrounding communities.