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Natural Breast Augmentation: Stem Cells and Fat Transfer In Lieu of Implants


Breast implants that don't use silicone nor saline, in fact there are no implants at all. Moving fat from your undesired areas into the breast sounds perfect. But how does it work, what can patient's expect, and is it safe?

Natural breast augmentation is a new procedure that uses fat taken from your own body via liposuction to add volume to the breasts. This fat transfer technique is relatively new and there aren't very many physicians performing this procedure currently. Those who do use it though are confident in its safety and effectiveness.

The procedure begins with liposuction. The patient will work with the physician to decide which area they would like to see reduced, commonly the hips, thighs, stomach, or buttocks. The method of liposuction is very important.

The new laser lipo procedures such as SmartLipo and SlimLipo melt the fat, making it unusable for fat transfer. One method available is VASER Lipo which uses ultrasonic energy to break up unwanted fat. Ultrasound, as an energy source, is tissue selective - meaning it can be directed to targeted fatty tissue, leaving surrounding tissue largely undisturbed. Another lipo method that provides viable fat for transfer is {!Body-Jet}. By using pressurized water, the fat is broken up so that it can easily be removed without disturbing the fat cells themselves, so that they can still be used.

Dr. Thomas Young of the Young Medical Spa in Pennsylvania uses Body-Jet lipo to remove the fat as well as traditional fat transfer methodology, depending on the particular patient's needs. Dr. Broadway, of Broadway Plastic Surgery in Denver, uses Vaser. He says, "VASER fat is easier to work with than any other technology because VASER's ultrasound gently shakes the fat loose, providing more purity of material to work with. There's less blood and undesired cellular material, which allows for a much finer injectable fat."

Actual Before and After Photos of Natural Breast Augmentation

natural breast augmentation before and after

According to Dr. Young, the ideal patient for natural breast augmentation is "someone who is healthy, age 40-50, a non-smoker, has had children, has lost some fullness in her breast, wants her volume replaced, and would be satisfied with a 1 cup increase." Patients should note that 400cc's of fat is not the same as 400cc's of saline. You will not be able to go from an 'A' cup to a 'D' cup, but a smaller adjustment, say 'B' to 'C' is possible. There has been concern that the injected fat would be reabsorbed by the body. Dr Young states, "90% is expected to survive and the results are permanent."

With the new lipo techniques, often times the fat needs no filtering because there is little blood or other tissue mixed in. There are techniques which filter and compress the stem cells in the fat which are pluripotent, or iPS cells. As discussed on "The Doctors" today, these stem cells can, with additional assistance, grow into any of the 200+ types of cells found in the human body, including breast tissue.

The cost varies by region and by the method and area of fat removal. A patient can expect to pay between about $9,000 and $15,000. Many patients like this method because it is a combination procedure. They can have fat removed that they don't want and new breasts to go along with it. After surgery, patients should expect soreness in both the fat removal location and the breast. Compression garments should be worn for a couple of weeks following surgery.

The jury is still out on this procedure's safety. Many are concerned that the fat injected into the breasts may impede current mammography technology, making it more difficult if not impossible to detect cancerous tumors and also creating confusion. Dr. Young says, "This was the old way of thinking. Several things have led to this not being a problem today. One, the modern mammography techniques are much more sensitive. And two, the modern fat injecting technique is different than the old method where fat was injected in large volumes deep into the breast. With the modern techniques, the injections are going into the breast very superficially in small amounts. Any calcifications that develop from the superficial injections are easily discernible from calcifications associated with breast cancer on the mammogram."

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) recently issued a report that eases some of those concerns but advises doctors to use extreme caution. We advise speaking with your board certified surgeon about the procedure and your specific needs and expectations.