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Choosing Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation vs Breast Implants

Fat Grafting or Traditional Breast Implants

Women all over the world want and deserve to look and feel their best and to be confident in their own skin. One of the most popularly asked for cosmetic procedures is breast augmentation. Commonly referred to as a “boob job,” breast augmentation can be done through the insertion of breast implants or by transferring fat from one area of the body to enhance the breasts.

Many women choose breast augmentation to feel confident and beautiful, add symmetry to uneven breasts, or recreate the appearance of breasts after a mastectomy. Whatever your reason for considering breast augmentation, it’s important to speak to a board-certified plastic surgeon to answer any questions and understand what type of breast augmentation surgery is best for you.

What is Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation?

Fat transfer for breast augmentation, also known as fat grafting, is when fat is removed from one area of the body via liposuction. The fat is then processed and injected into the breast tissue. Fat can be harvested from anywhere in the body. Some of the most common places for fat to be removed are from the thighs, arms, flanks, belly, knees, buttocks, or a combination of several places the patient wants to remove undesirable fat cells.

After your surgeon manually removes fat cells by use of liposuction, those fat cells are processed. This consists of removing oil, blood, and saline from the fat cells. The now refined fat tissue can be injected into the breast, carefully placing each injection to sculpt the breast into the desired shape and size. Fat transfer breast augmentation surgery usually takes between three to five hours.

Breast Implants for Augmentation

Breast implant surgery is when artificial devices called prostheses are inserted into the breast to change the size and appearance of the breast. The breast implants are made of silicone shells filled with either silicone gel or saline.

During breast implant surgery, your surgeon will create an incision either around the areola or at the bottom of the breast. Armpit and belly button incisions are alternative approaches to inserting implants. During your consultation and pre-surgery meeting with your board-certified plastic surgeon, he will discuss the specific procedure that is right for you. Your breast implant is then inserted through the incision and placed between or under the breast tissue and chest muscles. Breast implant surgery takes between one and two hours.

Is Fat Transfer a Suitable Replacement for Breast Implants?

One of the reasons that breast implants continue to remain so popular is because it’s a reliable way to get the body you imagine yourself having. Breast implants offer a variety of sizes and cup size increase options. Fat transfer is limited to between a half to one full cup increase. Breast implants are measured in cubic centimeters (cc) volume. They are available starting at approximately 125 cc, which measures at half a cup size, up to 1200 cc.

In addition to a choice in size, breast implants allow for a choice in shape. Round implants create a full roundness that is equal in shape and forms a symmetrical fullness surrounding the nipple. With teardrop-shaped breast implants, there is volume and definition below the nipple, creating a more natural look. In contrast, fat transfer augmentation will make your breasts larger but does not fully alter the shape of your breasts in the same way that breast implants do.

Pros and Cons of Fat Transfer Augmentation

Some people are nervous about getting breast implants because they fear complications of having foreign material in their bodies. Even though the risks of fat transfer augmentation are lesser than breast implant surgery, they still exist.

Cons of fat transfer breast augmentation are:

  • Risk of over injection that can lead to infections or visually undesirable results.
  • The results are unpredictable, making multiple surgeries a possibility.
  • The body might reabsorb most of the fat, making the results less than optimal.

Despite some drawbacks, for eligible candidates, fat transfer breast augmentation does have some benefits:

  • A natural choice that does not put a foreign device into the body.
  • Because it is the patient’s own tissue, once the graft “takes” it ages with the patient.
  • Liposuction from trouble spots in your body means more results to your figure.
  • The breasts will have a softer, more natural appearance.

Key differences between Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation and Breast Implants:

  • Size and shape: With implants, you can choose the size and shape of your breasts, whereas for the fat transfer augmentation you are limited to the amount of fat that can be retained and injected as well as the underlying shape of your breasts.
  • Eligibility: Not all patients are eligible for fat transfer, but anyone can get breast implants. The most ideal candidates for fat transfer breast augmentation are small-breasted patients or patients looking to get a breast lift.
  • Results: When women come into the plastic surgeon’s office, they usually have a picture in their mind of their dream breasts. With breast implants, that can be more easily achieved, but the results with fat transfer augmentation are less reliable.
  • Cost: because of the time it takes to harvest, prepare and engraft the fat, fat transfer augmentation is more costly. Also it may require additional sessions to get the desired results, leading to an increase in cost.

For these reasons, fat transfer augmentation to the breasts is not a replacement for implants. However, it is a suitable alternative in specific instances where patients are looking for a small increase in size or to enhance the fullness of their breasts slightly with a more natural option. Fat transfer augmentation can also be used in conjunction with breast implants, a breast reduction, or a breast lift to obtain the desired results.

Schedule Your Consultation for Breast Augmentation in Raleigh Today

If you are ready to have a breast augmentation procedure, we’re here to help you reach your goals and feel more comfortable in your own skin. During your first consultation, Dr. Ortiz will help you determine if you’re a better candidate for breast implants or for fat transfer and answer any questions you may have.  To get started, call us at 919-532-2270 or fill out the form below.