The breasts are often a source of cosmetic concern for women, particularly if they are not the size or shape a woman wants. While breast augmentation using implants is a standard method of enlarging and adding fullness to the breasts, it isn’t the only option. Introducing fat transfer to the breasts, the process of taking excess, unwanted fat from one region of the body and injecting it into the breasts to achieve the desired size and shape. Dr. Barrett and the staff at Barrett Plastic Surgery have extensive experience in the latest fat transfer techniques, to perform comprehensive treatment for women that have a variety of contouring goals they would like to achieve.
Dr. Barrett says, “Fat transfer to the breast has recently become a very popular option for women who wish to avoid an implant and its associated risks and maintenance. Fat transfer to the breasts is two operations in one. The first step is getting the fat from somewhere using liposuction in a manner that compliments the body well. The next step is carefully grafting the fat drop by drop to sculpt and enlarge the breasts in a natural looking manner. More fat is grafted at the time of surgery because there is some degree of fat resorption that occurs after surgery. Grafting the fat quickly after it is harvested is key to fat survivability.”
What is Breast Augmentation Using Fat Transfer?
A breast augmentation procedure involving fat grafting to the breasts is a two-step procedure that begins with removing fat from areas where you have an excess of stubborn fat cells such as the stomach, hips or outer thighs. The fat can then be delivered into areas that may be lacking volume, like the face, hands, buttocks – or breasts. This safe, long-lasting and well-tolerated procedure produces natural-looking results. Every year, thousands of patients undergo successful fat grafting and are pleased with their results.
Is Fat Transfer the Right Choice for Your Breast Augmentation?
A breast augmentation using fat transfer is an option for women wanting to enlarge the size of the breasts without the need for implants. The technique is commonly used during reconstruction of the breasts after a mastectomy or lumpectomy since it can often produce superior results to reconstruction using implants or flap procedures alone. It is also an effective correction option for breasts that are misshapen or underdeveloped due to genetic problems such as tuberous breast or Poland Syndrome. It is especially useful at improving upper pole fullness.
Dr. Barrett is skilled in performing this procedure for patients desiring fuller breasts and have natural fat cells in other areas that can be used for the transfer process. The following scenarios are also reason to consider fat grafting to the breast:
- Chest area, especially the upper pole, that appears creased or sunken
- A desire for more permanent correction without having to use implants
- A goal to improve the body contour, revise scars, eliminate skin depressions and rejuvenate the natural curves of your breasts
- Contour irregularities or other apparent signs of breast implants
To qualify for this procedure, you will need to be in good health and have sufficient fat in another area that can be used to augment the breasts. A single fat transfer procedure can usually increase breasts by approximately one-half cup size. Women that want to go larger may need an additional fat transfer treatment or a combination of implants and fat transfer to produce the desired result. Dr. Barrett will take ample time to assess you and your goals to determine whether breast augmentation using fat transfer is the right choice for you.
Your Choice in Plastic Surgeons
If you are weighing a fat transfer procedure to augment your breasts, your choice of surgeon will have a definite effect on the success of your treatment. In addition to experience in a variety of breast augmentation techniques, you want a surgeon that uses the latest liposuction techniques to allow for the most efficient fat removal process. Dr. Barrett uses the revolutionary S.A.F.E. liposuction technique, which is a three-step treatment that includes separation, aspiration and fat extraction. By using mechanical agitation to loosen cells before removal, he can preserve more fat cells to use for the injection process. The gentler technique also results in a more comfortable procedure for patients with less downtime afterward.
When it comes to breast augmentation of any kind, patients quickly discover that Dr. Barrett stands out from other plastic surgeons in the Beverly Hills area. In addition to his extensive experience, Dr. Barrett is known for spending ample time with his patients to ensure their procedures meet their expectations as closely as possible. Rest assured you will see Dr. Barrett personally at your appointments, including your follow-up visits, to provide you the highest standard of care throughout your surgical process.
Benefits of Breast Augmentation Using Fat Transfer
There are different reasons why patients might choose the fat transfer process for their breast augmentation over implants:
- Ability to sculpt two or more areas of the body at one time
- Two steps are completed in a single surgical session
- Fat transfer tends to feel and look more natural than an implant
- The injectable process does not leave residual scarring on breasts
- No worries over implants rupturing or causing other complications
Choices in Breast Augmentation Using Fat Transfer
Dr. Barrett can perform the liposuction step of this procedure on one or more of the following areas:
- Inner and outer thighs
- Hips and flanks
- Upper and lower back
Areas will need to have enough fat to extract and inject into the breasts to create the desired curves. The procedure removes stubborn fat cells in these areas that have not responded to exercise and diet, leaving a smoother, sleeker body profile behind.
Preparing for Your Surgery
While breast augmentation using fat transfer tends to be less invasive than other types of breast augmentation techniques, there are still steps you can take beforehand to minimize risks and enhance your outcome. Some of those steps might include:
- Stop smoking before your procedure for a few weeks to avoid nicotine-related risks
- Do not take medications that could increase bleeding, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and aspirin
- Avoid supplements that have similar effects, like St. John’s Wort, vitamin E and fish oil
- Fill prescriptions at the pharmacy, so medications are ready for you when you arrive home
- Line up a family member or friend to drive you home after your procedure since you will be receiving anesthesia during your appointment
If there are additional ways Dr. Barrett wants you to prepare for your treatment, he will let you know what they are at one of your initial appointments.
The liposuction portion of your procedure will be performed under general anesthesia or twilight sedation, so you are comfortable throughout. He will create tiny incisions in the treatment area to insert a narrow tube or cannula directly into the fat deposit. The cannula features a vibrating tip that gently loosens fat cells so that they can be suctioned out of the body. Dr. Barrett will use the pinch test throughout the process to ensure the results are smooth and even.
The removed fat cells are harvested and prepared for injection. Multiple injections will be placed into the breasts to produce a symmetrical, natural shape to the breasts. A cannula is also used for this part of the procedure to reduce the risk for bruising around the injection points and allow for smooth insertion of the fat cells into the breast tissue.
After Your Breast Augmentation Procedure
The typical recovery period for liposuction is just a few days. The fat transfer to the breast causes minimal pain. You will likely experience some mild swelling and bruising around the incision sites, but you should not feel significant pain during that time. Oral medication can be taken to improve your comfort level for the first three to four days. The breasts may be slightly sore as well from the injections, but that discomfort should also be short-lived. Most activities can be resumed within about four days, although strenuous exercise should be avoided for at least two weeks to give the treatment area sufficient time for healing. Do not sleep on your stomach during this time to avoid placing excess pressure on the breasts, as this could impact the ability of the fat to “take.”
Results that are Natural and Long-Lasting
Breast augmentation using fat transfer is a beautiful, natural way to enhance the size and shape of the breasts. Most patients find the results of their procedure are very long-lasting and there is no scarring left behind from the fat grafting process. If you would like to learn more about this process, contact Barrett Plastic Surgery today at 310-598-2648.