Fat transfer technology has made medical dreams into medical fact as patients are now able to use their unwanted fat in a hip or thigh area to enlarge the breasts. Also known as natural breast augmentation or autologous fat transfer, advanced liposuction technology has been coupled with new fat grafting procedures to allow physicians to remove and then relocate the fat tissue within a matter of hours. The patient is awake during the procedure and can have it completed in one morning or one afternoon.
"My patients have been asking about this for a long time," says Dr. Bill Johnson, Medical Director of Innovations Medical and provider of natural breast augmentation in Dallas. "And now, it's reality. We can remove unwanted fat from a mid-section or thighs and use it for breast augmentation. It's easier and healthier than most other breast augmentation procedures, and the results are remarkable."
Makeover results, including natural breast augmentation of Dr. Bill Johnson
In fat transfer, the patient's own tissue is used to add volume, and is a simpler procedure than implants in many ways. Natural breast augmentation requires smaller incisions, less anesthesia and the recovery is typically much quicker. For women who have had both procedures, the comparison is stark. Most of them say fat transfer offers a more natural feel, no risk of leakage and no concerns over an auto-immune reaction to the chemical implant. In addition, fat transfer is usually cheaper than implant surgery. "Many women haven't been satisfied with their implants, or just don't like the idea of a man-made substance inside their body," says Dr. Johnson, "for them, fat transfer is the answer."
As recently as 1988, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) condemned fat transfer into the breast because of concerns over calcification of the implanted fat. Doctors were worried that the implanted fat would generate an inordinate amount of 'false positive' mammogram results. However, new radiology techniques have eliminated those concerns and in 2009, the ASPS reversed its decision on breast fat transfer.
Women do need to have enough excess fat, be healthy, and have normal mammography results to avoid complicating any existing conditions. Currently, only about 5% of breast augmentations in the US are done this way, but as the procedure's popularity expands, that number could quickly grow.