Fat grafting is a technique for breast augmentation that involves taking excess fat from other parts of the body, purifying it, and injecting it into the breasts to give them more volume with a natural appearance.
Also known as fat transfer or fat injection, fat grafting is a safe and long-lasting procedure that is often considered as a supplement or even an alternative to breast implants. The results of fat grafting are natural-looking; however, it is also a fairly complex procedure, since the integrity of the fat cell membranes must be kept intact.
AM I A CANDIDATE FOR FAT GRAFTING?
Fat grafting is a breast-augmentation technique that provides a subtle enhancement in breast size; it is an ideal option for women who are seeking a relatively small increase, or for women who have asymmetrical cup sizes.
An additional benefit to fat grafting is that it involves taking excess from your own body and does not involve any foreign substances. If you have any known allergies to implant materials, you may be an ideal candidate for fat transfer.
In order to be a candidate for fat grafting, you must have a donor site from which excess fat can be taken, such as the thighs or abdomen. Your board-certified plastic surgeon can help you identify the best donor site.
With any plastic surgery procedure, it is always important to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon that has extensive experience and knowledge in their field of study. Fat grafting is no exception; though it may sound like a simple process, careful cultivation of the fat cells is of the utmost importance to achieve optimal and lasting results.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR CONSULTATION
At the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago, our board-certified plastic surgeons have performed hundreds of fat-grafting procedures successfully and safely. Our focus is on natural results and the newest, most innovative techniques. When you choose us, your consultation will involve reviewing every step of the process, all the way through recovery, so that you have a comprehensive understanding of what fat grafting entails.
You and your plastic surgeon will review your medical history to ensure that you are an ideal candidate for fat grafting. Your plastic surgeon will examine and measure your breasts, including the size, shape, skin quality and nipple position. Photographs are usually taken at this stage so your plastic surgeon can perform a full evaluation and work with you to determine the best course of treatment to reach your ideal aesthetic goals.
You and your plastic surgeon will discuss any and all aspects of the procedure, through recovery, as well as any potential risks associated with breast augmentation. If you have any questions about any of these factors, you should not hesitate to ask; the consultation is the best time to have all your questions answered.
HOW IS FAT GRAFTING PERFORMED?
First, you and your surgeon will determine the donor site, from which excess fat will be removed. After a general anesthetic is administered, the surgeon will make a small incision in the donor area and carefully extract fat cells using a cannula and syringe.
If necessary, the extracted fat will be processed using a centrifuge or other filtration technique to isolate the fat cells. The fat cells are then transferred to smaller syringes to be injected into the breasts.
The injection process is repeated until the desired results are achieved. Since this process also involves shaping and contouring, there is an artistic aspect to fat grafting in order to create an aesthetic breast, which is why it is important to choose an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon who understands your aesthetic goals.
Fat may be injected after an implant is placed to improve overall shape and contour, if the fat transfer is being performed as an adjunct to implants. Finally, a bandage is placed over the grafted area. In some cases, a drain may need to be placed at the donor site.
RECOVERY AFTER FAT GRAFTING
The only incisions resulting from fat grafting are at the donor sites, and these incisions are typically very small and produce minimal scarring. If possible, your surgeon will attempt to place the incisions in well-hidden areas of the body.
Swelling and bruising of both the donor site and breasts should go down significantly between the first and second week after the procedure. Be prepared to wait at least seven to ten days before returning to your normal level of activity. By the third week, swelling should be mostly gone and results should be apparent.
POTENTIAL RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH FAT GRAFTING
Complications from breast augmentation with fat grafting are infrequent, but there are associated risks with any surgical procedure, even those that are noninvasive. Potential risks associated with fat grafting may include:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Changes in skin sensation
- Hematoma (blood clot)
At the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago, we take every precaution possible to minimize risk by using only the safest, most innovative techniques. You can also reduce risk by adhering strictly to any instructions that your plastic surgeon may give you, both before and after your procedure.
HOW MUCH DOES FAT GRAFTING COST?
The cost associated with breast augmentation by fat grafting varies widely—not only according to your geographic location and surgeon, but also your particular goals and the extent of the procedure. Your plastic surgeon will discuss all associated costs during your consultation. Fat grafting is considered a cosmetic procedure, and is rarely covered by health insurance providers.
SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
If you believe you are a candidate for fat grafting breast augmentation or would like to learn more about the procedure and how it is performed, schedule a consultation with the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago. We will be happy to speak with you and perform an evaluation to see if it is a right fit for you and your aesthetic goals.
All surgical procedures by the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago are performed at top hospitals in Chicago and CMS or AAAASF-certified surgical centers for safety.