Fat transfer breast augmentation, also known as fat transfer to breast is an increasingly popular alternative to breast augmentation with implants. Centre for Surgery is a specialist centre for fat transfer in London and is considered one of the leading plastic surgery clinics in the UK for fat grafting to breasts. Here we answer your most commonly asked questions about breast fat transfer.
FAT TRANSFER TO BREASTS
How many cup sizes can I go up with fat transfer to breasts?
Patients can expect an average increase of approximately one cup size with fat transfer to the breasts. The degree of breast enlargement achievable with fat transfer is determined by several factors, including:
- The amount of fat available for fat injections – it may be challenging to harvest sufficient fat from lean women with minimal excess body fat.
- The quality of fat used for breast fat transfer – fat harvested from the lower abdomen is of a higher quality compared with fat removed from fibrous areas.
- The tightness of the breast skin envelope – some women have tighter breast skin which may limit the amount of fat that can be injected compared with women who have increased soft tissue laxity permitting a greater volume of fat transfer.
How big can I go with breast fat transfer?
Fat transfer breast augmentation performed as a single procedure is usually able to increase the size of the breasts from half a cup to 1 1/2 cups. Although this is less compared with breast implants, the breasts feel more natural compared with implants.
Does fat injected into the breasts feel natural to the touch?
Fat injected into the breasts gives a very natural feel as it uses your own body fat. Breast implants feel less natural compared with breast fat transfer.
Can fat be taken from my abdomen and injected into my breasts?
Yes, it is possible to take fat from the abdomen and inject it into the breasts. The procedure is called fat transfer or fat grafting. It is typically used to increase the volume of the breasts, correct asymmetry, or improve the shape of the breasts after a mastectomy or other breast surgery. The fat is typically harvested from the abdomen, hips, or thighs using liposuction, and then it is purified and re-injected into the breasts. The procedure is usually done under local anaesthesia, and recovery time can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the procedure. It is important to note that the procedure results may not be permanent, as some of the injected fat may be reabsorbed by the body over time. Additionally, there is a risk of complications, such as infection, bleeding, and asymmetry.
How long does it take to see the final results of fat transfer to breasts?
The final results of fat transfer to breasts take between three and six months to become visible once any postoperative swelling has disappeared. Every woman is different, and results may take sooner or longer than this average timeframe depending on the results you are seeking to achieve, your state of health and your body shape.
Can I get fat grafting for breast cancer reconstruction in the NHS?
Breast cancer reconstruction with fat grafting is often covered by private medical insurance as it is performed for medical reasons. It may even be available on the NHS in selected cases, although long NHS waiting lists may prompt people to seek treatment in the private sector.
Will I have scars after fat transfer to breasts?
Compared with breast implants, fat transfer breast enlargement involves very small incisions that are barely noticeable once they have fully healed. Incisions are usually located within natural skin folds to minimise visibility. Most types of clothing can cover fat transfer scars.
Can fat transfer to breasts be reversed?
Yes, this is possible. Fat transfer involves the injection of fat into the breasts. The fat that has been injected into the breasts can be removed with liposuction. However, areas, where fat has been removed, may be more difficult as there is often very little fat left in these areas. If there is subcutaneous fat that can be pinched with the finger and thumb, then it is amenable for removal with liposuction.
BREAST FAT GRAFTING OPTIONS
Is fat transfer safer than having breast implants?
Fat transfer to the breasts is considered safer than having breast implants. Using your own body fat for breast enlargement does not involve the risk of implant-related complications or allergic reactions. Breasts that have been enlarged with fat transfer look and feel more natural compared with breast implants. There is no need to have breast implants removed and replaced if you choose to have a fat transfer procedure.
Is fat transfer better than having implants?
It depends on your goals for treatment. If you are looking for a subtle increase in breast size of no more than one cup size, then fat transfer to breasts could be suitable. If you would like to achieve a more significant increase in breast size of 2 to 3 cups, then breast implants are probably the best option. Fat transfer to the breasts is considered a safer procedure compared with breast implants because it uses your own body fat for a natural breast enlargement.
Can I have my breast implants removed and replaced with fat transfer?
Breast implant removal followed by fat transfer to the breasts is an increasingly popular procedure in the UK. The empty space where implants once were can be filled with your own body fat. The surgeon is able to sculpt and contour the breasts to achieve a natural look. You can also choose to have a breast lift combined with fat transfer to the breasts after breast implant removal.
Can fat transfer to breasts be combined with breast implants in the same procedure?
Fat transfer to the breasts, also known as lipomodelling or fat grafting, is a procedure in which a surgeon removes fat from one area of the body (such as the abdomen or thighs) using liposuction and then injects it into the breasts to increase volume and fullness. Breast implants, on the other hand, are silicone prostheses that are surgically inserted into the breasts to increase volume and size.
It is possible to combine these two procedures, and this is known as Hybrid Breast Augmentation or Hybrid BA. It is important to be aware that by combining fat transfer and breast implants, the fat may not survive as well in the breast tissue when it is combined with an implant. The fat cells may not have enough blood supply to survive and thrive, which can lead to uneven results and the need for additional procedures to correct the problem.
The surgeon will also consider other factors like the amount of fat available, the condition of the skin and the desired outcome before deciding to combine these two procedures. If you are considering both procedures, it is important to have a thorough consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon to discuss the potential risks and benefits and to ensure that you are a good candidate for the combination.
It’s always better to have realistic expectations and a clear understanding of the procedure you are about to undergo, so it’s important to talk to the surgeon about the advantages, disadvantages and the possible outcomes of the combination before deciding to go for the procedure.
FAT GRAFTING TO BREASTS PROCEDURE
What does fat grafting to the breasts involve?
Fat transfer to the breasts first involves the removal of excess fat from unwanted body areas using liposuction. The most common areas for fat harvesting are the abdomen, thighs or buttocks. The harvested fat is then carefully processed to remove impurities, including blood, local anaesthetic solution and oil. This helps to minimise the risk of oil cysts developing after fat injection. The processed fat is then precisely injected into targeted areas of the breasts to enhance fullness and breast volume.
Can fat be transferred from the stomach to my breasts?
The stomach is a very popular area for harvesting fat. Patients can achieve a sculpted and contoured abdomen with larger and fuller breasts with a fat transfer to press procedure. There should be a sufficient amount of fat for harvest to get the best fat transfer results.
How long does fat transfer breast augmentation take to perform?
Fat transfer to the breasts takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to perform. The duration will depend on the number of areas where fat will be removed from and your desired breast size.
How much fat is needed for fat transfer to breasts?
Achieving significant results requires between 300cc to 400cc of fat for each breast. In some cases, a second procedure may be required to inject more fat into the breasts, as not all fat that is injected will be incorporated into your native press tissue.
What are the most common areas for fat harvesting?
The most common areas for fat harvest include the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, hips and back.
FAT TRANSFER TO BREASTS RECOVERY
What does fat transfer to breasts recovery involve?
The recovery process after fat transfer to the breasts can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the surgery.
Immediately after the procedure, the patient’s breasts may be swollen and bruised. Pain and discomfort can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. The patient should avoid any strenuous activities or heavy lifting for at least a few weeks to allow for proper healing.
The patient will be required to wear a surgical bra for a few weeks to help support the breasts and keep them in the proper position. The surgeon may also recommend using a special compression garment to help with swelling.
It is common for the breasts to feel lumpy and uneven for a few weeks after the procedure as the fat begins to settle. The final result may not be visible for several months as the body absorbs some of the transplanted fat.
Some common side effects of the procedure include swelling, bruising, and pain. However, most patients are able to return to normal activities within a few weeks.
It is important to follow the surgeon’s post-operative instructions to ensure proper healing and to minimise the risk of complications. The patient should also schedule follow-up appointments with the surgeon to monitor the progress of the recovery.
Overall, the recovery process after fat transfer to the breasts can take several weeks to a few months, but the results can be long-lasting and offer a more natural-looking alternative to traditional breast augmentation methods.
What are the side effects of fat grafting to breasts?
Like any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and side effects associated with fat grafting to the breasts.
Some of the potential side effects of fat grafting to the breasts include:
- Pain and discomfort: Patients may experience some pain and discomfort in the breasts and the area where the fat was removed. This can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
- Bruising and swelling: Bruising and swelling are common after the procedure and can last for several weeks.
- Numbness: Temporary numbness in the breasts and the area where the fat was removed may occur.
- Asymmetry: The breasts may be uneven or asymmetrical after the procedure. This is usually temporary and will resolve as the fat settles into its final position.
- Fat Necrosis: Fat necrosis is a rare complication that can occur after fat transfer to the breasts. It occurs when some of the transplanted fat cells die or become necrotic, which can lead to the formation of hard, palpable lumps in the breast.
It’s also important to note that the results of fat transfer to the breasts may not be immediately visible. The final results may take several months to fully develop as the body absorbs some of the transplanted fat.
It is important to discuss the potential risks and side effects of the procedure with the surgeon and to have realistic expectations for the procedure. A qualified and experienced surgeon will be able to provide a personalised treatment plan and will inform you of the potential risks and side effects of the procedure.
How long does it take to recover after breast fat transfer?
A full recovery can be expected approximately six weeks after fat grafting to the breasts.
How long after fat transfer to breasts does it take to heal?
The initial recovery period takes approximately one week, during which bruising and swelling will be visible. Bruising will have disappeared in most cases by two weeks after surgery. Swelling can take up to 3 months to fully settle.
How long does swelling last after fat transfer breast augmentation?
Swelling after fat grafting to the breasts takes up to 6 to 8 weeks to disappear, depending on the extent of the surgery. The bulk of the swelling will have disappeared by two weeks after surgery.
Will I need to wear a sports bra after fat transfer to the breast?
You will need to wear a well-fitting sports bra continuously for six weeks after fat grafting. This helps to support the breasts in the new position and optimise the final results.
What is the best sleeping position after fat transfer to the breast?
We would recommend sleeping on your back after breast fat transfer. This helps to minimise excessive pressure on the breasts while they are healing.
When can I sleep on my side after fat transfer to the breast?
You can sleep on your side approximately two weeks after surgery, although this will depend on your healing, and it is best to ask your surgeon first.
Is breast massage beneficial after fat transfer to the breasts?
Breast massage is beneficial when carried out gently to help reduce swelling. You will be given detailed instructions on how to carry out breast massages. If you are in any doubt, reach out to us for further advice and support.
When can I exercise after fat transfer to the breast?
You should avoid strenuous exercise for at least six weeks following surgery to prevent excessive amounts of injected fat from being reabsorbed by the body. Fat injected into the breasts requires several weeks to integrate into the recipient tissue.
BREAST FAT TRANSFER RISKS
Is fat transfer permanent?
Once the fat cells have integrated into the recipient breast tissue, the results of fat transfer are considered permanent. A certain percentage of fat cells will be reabsorbed by the body, and this is a normal part of any fat transfer procedure. Newly injected fat requires a blood supply to form in the area. Certain factors can affect the amount of fat in the breasts, including significant changes in weight, pregnancy and the ageing process. We would recommend having fat grafting to the press once you have completed your family and are able to maintain a stable weight.
How long does fat transfer last?
Breast fat transfer is considered to be a permanent procedure with long-lasting results once the fat cells have developed a blood supply to the injected area. It is important to bear in mind that between 30 to 40% of fat may be reabsorbed by the body. The remaining fat will integrate into your natural breast tissue and will then behave like fat anywhere else in the body. This means it is subject to change with fluctuations in weight or pregnancy.
Does fat transfer to breasts last forever?
Fat transfer to the breasts, also known as autologous fat transfer or breast augmentation using fat, is a procedure in which fat is harvested from one area of the body, such as the abdomen, hips, or thighs, and then purified and reinjected into the breasts.
The procedure is considered a less invasive alternative to traditional breast augmentation using breast implants. The permanency of the results of a fat transfer to the breasts will depend on the individual case and the amount of fat that is transferred.
It’s important to note that not all the transferred fat will survive and the final result can vary. The body will reabsorb some of the fat cells over time, and the remaining fat cells may shrink, which can lead to a decrease in the size of the breasts over time. Additionally, the breast shape may change as a result of aging and weight fluctuations.
Additionally, the procedure may need to be repeated to achieve the desired size and shape. It’s important to discuss with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon the expected outcome of the procedure, the potential risks and benefits, as well as having realistic expectations about the results.
What are the risks of fat transfer to the breasts?
Fat transfer to the breasts, also known as autologous fat transfer or breast augmentation using fat, is a procedure in which fat is harvested from one area of the body, such as the abdomen, hips, or thighs, and then purified and reinjected into the breasts. The procedure has its own risks and complications, although it is considered less invasive than traditional breast augmentation with breast implants.
Here are some of the risks associated with fat transfer to the breasts:
- Fat reabsorption: Not all of the fat cells will survive after the transfer, and the body will reabsorb some of the fat cells over time. This can lead to a decrease in the size of the breasts over time.
- Asymmetry: As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of asymmetry, in which one breast may be slightly larger or have a different shape than the other.
- Infection: As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection, which can be minimized by keeping the incision site clean and taking antibiotics as prescribed.
- Scarring: Scarring is a common complication of any surgery, and can be more visible with a fat transfer to the breasts. Scarring can be minimised by keeping the incision site clean and protected from the sun.
- Numbness or tingling: There is a risk of temporary or permanent numbness or tingling of the skin around the incision site.
- Unsatisfactory results: There is always a risk of not being satisfied with the results of surgery, and this can happen with a fat transfer to the breasts as well.
It’s important to have a candid conversation with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon to discuss the risks and potential complications of the surgery, as well as to have realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery.
What factors can affect the results of fat transfer to breasts?
Fat transfer to the breasts, also known as autologous fat transplantation or breast augmentation with fat transfer, is a procedure that involves removing fat from one area of the body (such as the abdomen or thighs) and transplanting it to the breasts. The results of the procedure can vary depending on several factors.
One important factor that can affect the results of fat transfer to the breasts is the amount of fat that can be successfully harvested and transplanted. The volume of fat that can be harvested and transplanted is dependent on the individual’s body and the specific area from which the fat is being taken. The surgeon will have to evaluate the amount of fat that can be harvested and transplanted to achieve the desired results.
Another important factor that can affect the results of fat transfer to the breasts is the amount of fat that is able to survive the transplantation process. Not all of the transplanted fat will survive, and the amount of fat that does survive can vary depending on the individual. The amount of fat that survives can also depend on the technique used by the surgeon during the procedure.
The quality of the fat also plays a role in the final outcome. Fat cells that are healthy and well-vascularised are more likely to survive the transplantation process.
Patients’ health status and overall well-being also play an important role in the procedure outcome. Patients who are in good health, have a stable weight and BMI, and do not have any underlying medical conditions are more likely to achieve optimal results.
Another important factor that can affect the results of fat transfer to the breasts is the patient’s skin quality and elasticity. If the patient’s skin is loose and has poor elasticity, the transplanted fat may not be able to maintain its shape and may not provide the desired results.
Overall, it is important to have realistic expectations for the procedure, as individual results can vary. It is also important to choose a qualified and experienced surgeon who will be able to evaluate the patient’s individual factors and provide a personalized treatment plan.
Is breast fat transfer safe?
When performed by a specialist plastic surgeon, breast fat grafting is a safe procedure because it uses your own body fat for breast enhancement as opposed to silicone breast implants. Breast implants are associated with a higher risk of complications compared with fat transfer.
Is fat transfer to the breasts painful?
Any discomfort after breast fat transfer is mild in nature and is often related to the areas where liposuction was carried out. Localised discomfort can be easily controlled with prescription painkillers issued by your surgeon.
How long does fat transfer to breasts last?
Breast fat transfer results are considered long-lasting and even permanent once the fat cells develop a blood supply. The fat cells can then be adequately nourished with essential nutrients. However, it should be remembered that approximately 30 to 40% of fat can be reabsorbed by the body.
How can I increase fat cell survival after fat grafting to breasts?
There are several recommendations which patients should follow to help maximise fat cell survival rates, including:
- Avoiding smoking
- Eating nutritious foods with plenty of lean protein
- Keeping well hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Avoiding vigourous exercise
- Maintaining a stable weight and avoiding weight loss
- Sleeping initially with your head elevated above the level of your chest
- Following all of your surgeon’s postoperative instructions.
Can fat transfer cause lumpiness?
Fat transfer may occasionally carry the risk of oil cysts forming. Annoy assist can often be felt beneath the skin, although it will gradually disappear with time. Fat necrosis and granulomas are also recognised causes of breast lumpiness and if they do not disappear on their own, consult with your surgeon to discuss the possible treatment options. The key to minimising skin lumps after breast fat transfer is to ensure the fat is properly purified before being injected into the breasts.
Can weight loss affect the results of breast fat transfer?
The fat cells injected into the breasts will behave like fat in any other area of the body once they have integrated into the natural breast tissue. Significant weight loss can affect the results of fat transfer to the breasts by causing a reduction in breast size.
What is breast fat necrosis?
Breast fat necrosis is a rare complication that can occur after fat transfer to the breasts. It occurs when some of the transplanted fat cells die or become necrotic, which can lead to the formation of hard, palpable lumps in the breast. These lumps can be painful or tender to the touch and may feel like a breast lump.
Fat necrosis can occur for several reasons, including trauma to the transplanted fat during the procedure, poor blood supply to the transplanted fat, or an underlying medical condition such as diabetes.
The symptoms of breast fat necrosis can vary depending on the size and location of the necrotic fat. Some common symptoms include:
- pain or tenderness in the breast
- a hard, palpable lump in the breast
- breast redness or discolouration
- breast warmth or heat
In most cases, breast fat necrosis is benign and does not require treatment. The necrotic fat will eventually be absorbed by the body, and the lump will disappear. However, in some cases, the lump may become infected or may cause a cosmetic concern, in which case the surgeon may recommend surgical removal of the necrotic fat.
It is important to inform your surgeon if you have any of the symptoms above, as they can be mistaken for breast cancer. If a lump is detected, further examination, such as imaging and biopsy, may be needed to confirm the diagnosis of breast fat necrosis.
How does fat necrosis affect the breasts?
Fat necrosis most often manifests as one or many lumps felt beneath the skin.
Can breast massage help to reduce the risk of fat necrosis?
Although active treatment is not generally required for oil cysts or fat necrosis, gentle breast massage can help to smooth the skin and reduce soft tissue hardness.
What is the best way to get rid of fat necrosis?
Fat necrosis generally goes away on its own without any active treatment. If it still persists after six weeks, it can be removed with a minor surgical procedure involving the insertion of a cannula into the affected area. The surgeon can drain the contents of the cyst.
Will I need more than one breast fat transfer procedure?
A patient may need more than one fat transfer procedure to achieve the desired results. The amount of fat that can be harvested and transplanted in one procedure may be limited, and the amount of fat that survives the transplantation process can vary depending on the individual.
During the initial consultation, the surgeon will evaluate the patient’s body and the specific area from which the fat will be taken. The surgeon will also consider the patient’s desired breast size and shape, as well as the patient’s overall health and medical history. Based on this evaluation, the surgeon will be able to provide an estimate of the number of procedures that may be needed to achieve the desired results.
Additionally, depending on the volume of the breast and the amount of fat needed to achieve the desired size, it may be recommended to have more than one procedure to have a better final outcome.
It is also important to note that the results of fat transfer to the breasts may not be immediately visible. The final results may take several months to fully develop as the body absorbs some of the transplanted fat. Therefore, even if only one procedure is done, it may not be possible to see the final results until several months have passed.
It is important to have realistic expectations for the procedure and to choose a qualified and experienced surgeon who will be able to provide a personalised treatment plan.
Can I get fat transfer to breasts on the NHS?
In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) provides healthcare to all eligible individuals. However, not all treatments and procedures are covered under the NHS. The availability of fat transfer to the breasts on the NHS can vary depending on the individual’s specific circumstances and the policies of the local NHS trust.
In general, the NHS will only consider funding fat transfer to the breasts if it is deemed to be clinically necessary. This means that the procedure must be deemed to be the best option to address a specific medical issue. For example, suppose a patient has a breast deformity or asymmetry due to a medical condition such as breast cancer. In that case, the NHS may consider funding a fat transfer procedure as part of the patient’s overall treatment plan.
If the fat transfer procedure is not deemed clinically necessary, the patient will have to pay for the procedure privately.
It is important to note that the availability of the procedure, the criteria for funding, and the waiting times for treatment can vary depending on the specific NHS trust. It is best to check with your local NHS trust for more information about the availability of the procedure on the NHS.
It is also important to discuss the options and the costs with the surgeon and to have realistic expectations for the procedure. A qualified and experienced surgeon will be able to provide a personalised treatment plan and will inform you of the costs and the availability of the procedure on the NHS.
Fat transfer breast augmentation at Centre for Surgery
Centre for Surgery in London is considered one of the leading centres in the UK for fat grafting to the breasts. We are home to some of the most plastic surgeons with years of experience in all types of breast surgery, including fat transfer breast augmentation and hybrid breast augmentation (hybrid BA) using a combination of implants and fat.
Please schedule a consultation by calling us on 020 7993 4849 or completing the contact form below. One of our friendly and knowledgeable Patient coordinators will be in touch to start you on your patient journey to achieving natural-looking results with fat transfer to the breasts. Our state-of-the-art Baker Street clinic in Marylebone is an advanced day surgery facility performing the full range of plastic surgery procedures.