Fat Grafting for Breast Reconstruction
Improve breast shape & symmetry with autologous fat injections
- No breast incisions
- Lasting results
- Improves results after reconstruction
Autologous fat grafting, or using a patient’s own fat to add volume and refine contours of the body, has becoming increasingly popular in the cosmetic surgery field over the last decade. This less invasive procedure can be excellent as a breast reconstruction tool as well.
Fat grafting is an outpatient procedure that not only improves the breasts, but can also sculpt a better shape to areas where you have stubborn fat deposits. By removing fat from an area where you don’t want it with liposuction, and injecting the fat into the reconstructed breast, our highly experienced breast reconstruction surgeons can improve the symmetry and aesthetic appeal of your reconstructed breast without a second breast surgery.
How is a fat grafting procedure performed?
Fat grafting involves three basic steps:
- Liposuction to remove fat from the belly, hips, thighs or other area with excess fat.
- Purification of fat to remove extraneous matter and optimize the chance for fat to survive in its new location.
- Fat injections to one or both breasts to achieve moderate improvements in size, shape and symmetry.
Total breast reconstruction with fat grafting + BRAVA tissue expansion
Patients wanting a small breast reconstruction may have the option to use fat grafting only to reconstruct their desired breast appearance. For this technique, the patient wears an tissue expander device called BRAVA on the outside of her breast, which helps to stretch the breast skin and make space for the fat cells that will be transferred to the breast. Once the skin is stretched adequately, the plastic surgeon harvests fat from another location and injects it into the breast to fill in the space. This process is repeated every 3 to 6 months as necessary to achieve the desired breast size.
The BRAVA and fat grafting technique is best for patients who lack adequate abdominal tissue for a DIEP Flap or have had prior abdominal surgery, and who do not want implants. Fat grafting can also be a good option for some lumpectomy patients.
Fat grafting for secondary breast reconstruction
Autologous fat grafting is used more often to improve the results of primary breast reconstruction. Fat can be an excellent filler to help correct irregularities in shape and symmetry between the breasts.
Advantages of fat grafting
- Outpatient procedure with minimal recovery. Most patients are back to work and other light activities within 1 to 2 weeks.
- No breast incisions. The only incisions involved are tiny (<1cm) incisions in the areas where liposuction is performed.
- Increases upper pole volume without implants. Fat injections can help create a fuller, rounder contour for a more youthful breast appearance and improved cleavage.
- Reduces stubborn fat from other areas. You get the benefits of liposuction while also improving breast contours.
- Natural looking and feeling results. Because fat makes up a significant portion of a natural breast, using fat to construct or improve a breast mound creates a very natural result.
- Results can last a lifetime. Fat cells that survive the transfer will function normally; once desired results are in place, you should not need another surgery.
- Multiple procedures may need to be performed to achieve desired size increase. This is mainly a consideration with total breast reconstruction using fat grafting.
- Some of the injected fat may not survive the transfer, requiring a follow-up procedure to achieve optimal results.
- Only small changes can be made with fat grafting. Patients desiring or needing more extensive corrections are typically not good candidates.
- Fat grafting to the breasts is a highly advanced procedure that requires specialized training. By choosing Breast Reconstruction Specialists, you can be confident knowing that your surgeon has the training and experience necessary to ensure your safety and an optimal outcome.