There are a lot of options today for women interested in breast augmentation including fat transfer, which reuses your own fat taken out through liposuction and then injects that material back into your breast to provide fullness. It may seem like a dream come true, but there are limitations and potential down sides to the procedure.
Often, fat is removed from the abdomen and love handles. The fat is then processed and injected into the patient's desired area - often in the breasts or buttocks. Dr. David Broadway is a cosmetic surgeon in Denver, CO and he performs breast augmentation procedures both in a traditional manner and with fat transfer. He says that most of his patients who have fat transfer have it done as an add on to a liposuction procedure.
Dr. David Bottger is a board certified plastic surgeon practicing in the Philadelphia area. He says, "The potential advantage of this approach is the avoidance of any complications associated with saline or silicone gel implants." There is a disadvantage as well though that must be considered. With natural breast augmentation, only a moderate change is possible. "The change is neither as large nor as predictable as breast augmentation with breast implants," says Dr. Bottger.
Dr. Broadway agrees, saying that patient will only see at best a cup size. It is also important to remember that only about 80% of the fat injected will survive, so some of the initial fullness will be lost. According to Dr. Broadway, many patients come back for future procedures. "It's not uncommon for me to go back. Let's say we did the flanks in one procedure with the fat transfer, then I'll come back and do a liposuction of the abdomen, and then do another fat transfer, and if she's wanting a lot of volume, we'll stage her. We'll give her 3-6 months between procedures to give that first fat transfer fat an opportunity to establish itself, and then we'll come back and augment that again."
There are two main concerns with this procedure that relate to the development of breast cancer. First, there is a fear that injected fat may liquefy, become calcified, and be confused for malignancies during mammogram tests..Also, there is some concern that the stem cells in grafted fat may have the potential to induce breast cancers. Physicians are cautiously optimistic about this procedure and more time will tell if this is indeed a safe alternative to traditional breast augmentation procedures.