If you’ve been thinking about breast augmentation or reconstructive surgery, you’re probably familiar with silicone and saline implants, but there is another option worth considering, fat grafting. For those who may not be familiar with what fat grafting entails, it is a process whereby fat cells are transferred from another part of the body to the breast, increasing their size and improving overall appearance.
How does it work, exactly? Well, it requires a series of injections that facilitate the depositing of fat cells and is done over the course of 4 to 5 surgeries. The average breast augmentation procedure requires 300 to 400 ml of fat to improve bust size and shape. As such, this procedure may not be a good fit for everyone. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at this breast augmentation alternative and also address why it seems to be growing in popularity.
FAT GRAFTING AND TISSUE EXPANSION
Prior to surgery, most doctors will instruct their patients to wear a tissue expansion device. These devices, like those offered by Brava, helps to ensure the success of the fat grafting procedure. It should be noted, however, that this process is not required for all women as the patient’s anatomy will determine whether or not this step is necessary.
How does tissue expansion benefit the breast augmentation process? Well, the premise lies in the fact that sustained tension increases the survival rate of the grafted fat, which will ultimately be transferred to the breast. Furthermore, this process softens the breasts tissue to accommodate the transfer of fat cells. To that point, the patient must be compliant when it comes to using the expansion device as directed by their physician as this yield the best results.
UNDERSTANDING FAT GRAFTING
Although we have touched on the process of fat grafting briefly, let’s take a moment to further drill down on the mechanics involved. In order to access the patient’s fat cells, the physician will begin a process of liposuction or contouring, ensuring that the fat obtained has not only good but also ample blood supply.
If the fat tissue and blood supply are of poor quality, it could liquefy and lead to health problems like cysts and inflammation, for example. As such, you can expect your physician to pay close attention to detail as this part of the procedure gets underway. Following the removal of fat cells, as noted in the preface of this article, your physician will then start you off on a course of injections that will allow the fat to be deposited into your breast.
FAT GRAFTS AND MAMMOGRAMS
Not surprisingly, many women have some reservations when it comes to fat grafting as an alternative to traditional breast augmentation procedures. To help assuage any concerns you may have, most radiologists can easily discern between repositioned fat cells and calcifications that may suggest breast cancer.
HOW DOES FAT GRAFTING DIFFER FROM TRADITIONAL IMPLANTS?
The biggest difference between fat grafting and saline or silicone implants is that fat grafting doesn’t require a foreign object to be inserted into your body. Time is another factor for most women seeking breast augmentation surgery; traditional implants can usually be done in one operation whereas fat grafting will require multiple surgeries.
So what happens if your surgeon tries to transfer too much fat at once? Well, much like fat that is of poor quality, the tissue will die off and eventually liquefy. All in all, you’ll come away with unflattering results, and the time spent sourcing the needed fat would have been in vain. Going back to the time aspect, fat grafting can be a tedious process. In many cases, each session can last 2 to 3 hours and, as previously noted, may require 4 or more sessions to complete.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BREAST AUGMENTATION WITH FAT TRANSFER
If you have been vacillating between fat transfer and traditional breast augmentation surgery, here are a few things that you should take into consideration:
- Patient must have a minimum BMI of 20
- Not ideal for muscular or very thin women
- Does not shape and contour breast like traditional implants
- Not advised for those looking to increase cup size by more than a ½ cup
As far as recovering from your breast augmentation surgery, your physician will likely instruct you to you wear a compression garment on the donor site, which is the area of the body used to source fat for your augmentation surgery. Beyond that, you will want to avoid sleeping on your stomach as you heal, which could take several weeks. In fact, it may take 3 to 6 months before you’ll be able to fully appreciate the benefits of your surgery.
BENEFIT OF FAT TRANSFER IMPLANTS OVER TRADITIONAL IMPLANTS
If you’re a woman who prefers breasts that look and feel natural, fat grafting is the more compelling option. Because breast augmentation with fat transfer utilizes the patient’s own fat cells, the recovery time is shorter, and as an added bonus, the breasts also look and feel more natural. Lastly, the process doesn’t cause the same degree of scarring that is typical of most traditional implant surgeries.
If you believe that fat transfer implants may be a good fit for you, and you live in New York City or the surrounding areas, you may want to consider the New York Center for Facial Plastic and Laser Surgery. Led by lead plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Jacono, the facility is one of the best in the tri-state area.
In fact, Dr. Jacono was recently named one of the best plastic surgeons in the state, and he has been featured in prominent publications like Harper’s Bazaar. Although he has been lauded for his work in rhinoplasty, facelifts, and eyelid lifts, Dr. Jacono is well-versed in nearly all plastic surgery disciplines, including breast augmentation. For more information on Dr. Andrew Jacono and the staff at New York Center for Facial Plastic and Laser Surgery, visit them online at newyorkfacialplasticsurgery.com.
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