Fat Grafting for Breasts
Fat grafting, also known as fat transfer, is an innovative technique that takes fat from other parts of your own body and places it back into an area that you wish to enhance. It has been used in cosmetic and dental procedures for many years, yet many patients are still unfamiliar with the practice and the benefits that it offers.
Fat grafting can be used for both breast augmentation and breast reconstruction surgery. These are two very different procedures. Breast augmentation is the name given to a typical breast enlargement, whereby a patient with smaller breasts is seeking surgery to make her breasts bigger and more voluptuous. However, breast reconstruction is the name given to a procedure given to women who have previously had all or part of one or both of their breasts removed due to or to prevent breast cancer.
Fat grafting in breast surgeries is typically recommended for women who are looking for a relatively small increase in their breast size, or who only require a small restoration of their breast tissue. The results of fat grafting for breast surgery are a natural, subtle enhancement.
What are the benefits of fat grafting?
One of the biggest benefits of fat grafting is that it takes fat from another part of your body. Not only does this enable you to improve an area where you felt stubborn fat was causing you to feel unhappy about your appearance, but it also means that you are transferring the body’s most valuable source of stem cells. These stem cells will help rejuvenate the skin overlying your breasts, improving its quality and condition while also facilitating a speedier recovery.
In addition to using your own tissue instead of an implant, many women also state that they feel that breasts that have been enlarged or reconstructed using fat feel softer and more natural than those done with implants. Some even report feeling some sensation in the breast after the procedure.
What happens during a fat grafting process?
As far as cosmetic procedures go, fat grafting is fairly straightforward and can often be carried out under local anesthetic combined with sedation. However, many women still prefer having a general anesthetic.
There are primarily three stages to fat grafting.
Fat Removal: This is done via liposuction. A cannula is inserted through very small incisions into the target area. Firstly, a saline solution is inserted through the cannula to help break up the fat. Then the fat can be sucked out using a vacuum attached to the cannula, which is then attached to a container.
- Preparing the fat: Once the fat has been removed it must be prepared before it can be reinserted back into your body. This involves special equipment which is used to quickly spin the fat, separating is from blood and other fluids, essentially purifying it.
- Re-injecting the fat back into the breasts: A needle and syringe are used to inject the fat back into the breasts a little amount at a time until the new shape and size of the breasts has been reached. The insertion points for these injections are so small that sutures are rarely needed.
The entire fat grafting process usually takes no more than a couple of hours, although if you are having a particularly large area treated, it may be necessary to perform the procedure over several sessions.
Recovery after fat transfer for breast surgery
Fat transfer for breast enlargement or reconstruction is still an invasive procedure that requires you to take enough time to successfully and safely recover. You will have some swelling and bruising both at the site of your fat removal and on your breasts. You may also experience temporary numbness and pain. Rest assured you will be prescribed medication to help with your discomfort.
It may take a few days for you to feel comfortable driving, and you should avoid doing so until this time. Most patients schedule around a week off of work, although if you are working in a physically demanding job or are on your feet all day, you may wish to take a longer period of time off for your recovery.
As with most surgeries of this type, the results of your procedure may not be obvious immediately. It can take around 6 months for a surgical fat transfer to take effect and for you to see an improvement in the appearance of your target area. However, you will almost certainly notice that your breasts are larger immediately.
Ready to schedule your consultation for fat grafting for breast surgery? Please contact our Metairie, LA plastic surgery offices today by calling 504-226-8200.