Pros and Cons of Fat Injections for Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation surgery is designed to increase the size and improve the shape of the breasts. In virtually all situations this involves the placement of breast implants either above or below the chest wall muscle to obtain these desired goals. Over the last several years, fat injections into the breasts are becoming more frequently done for shape, contour irregularities and size increase (usually small). This technique of using fat injections is also commonly referred to as “fat grafting” or “fat transfer.”
If you are considering breast augmentation with fat transfer, the following pros and cons may help you decide whether this procedure is right for you.
Some women don’t want breast implants because they believe that implants make the breasts look “fake.” Breast augmentation with fat injections can produce subtle, natural-looking and feeling results. This technique is excellent for women who desire natural-looking results with only a small increase in bust size.
Enhances Multiple Areas
When performing fat transfer breast augmentation, the fat that is injected into the breasts is first harvested with liposuction from another area of the body, such as the abdomen, hips, or thighs. In so doing, the harvest site is trimmed down and made slimmer while the breasts are augmented with the transferred fat. Consequently, fat transfer breast augmentation improves your body shape by enhancing multiple areas of the body at once. If the fat is harvested from the abdomen, this can also make the breast enhancement appear slightly more pronounced.
Placing a foreign object into the body, such as a breast implant, introduces certain risks and issues to consider. With breast implants, some of these complications include capsular contracture (scar tissue around the implants resulting in a hard feeling), double bubble deformity, implant malposition and lack of them being “permanent.”
With fat injections, the patient’s own fat is transferred, so the body does not react to the fat in the same way as it would a foreign implant. The fat injections are accomplished by needle sticks in the skin and not an incision as needed with breast implant placement.
Women who would like a substantial increase in their breast size will not be able to do so with fat injections – at least with present technology. At most, fat transfer breast augmentation may allow an increase of the breasts by one cup size.
Limited Candidates Will Qualify
Only women who have sufficient fat available for harvesting may be candidates for fat injections. Those who have very little excess fat, therefore, will not qualify for this technique and would need to pursue their breast augmentation using breast implants.
When fat is injected into the breasts, some of the fat will obtain a blood supply and survive whereas the remainder is absorbed by the body. No surgeon can accurately predict exactly how much of fat will survive versus be absorbed by the body. Consequently, the ultimate size increase and outcome can’t be guaranteed.
Multiple Procedures May be Necessary to Obtain the Goal Size
Because there is unpredictability of fat survival and not all the fat survives, there is a significant chance that more than one procedure would be needed initially to obtain the targeted size. The overall risk of this versus the risk for re-operations in those with breast implants is not clear, however.
Much Higher Cost Factor
Generally, the cost of just one operative procedure to obtain a limited breast augmentation with fat injections will substantially exceed that of a breast augmentation where breast implants are employed. Obviously, if more than one fat injection procedure is necessary, then the cost differential can be enormous.
Fat injections for breast augmentation can provide natural-looking breast enhancement for interested, qualifying candidates. To learn more about this technique or other options for breast augmentation, schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Steven H. Turkeltaub. Call our office at (480) 451-3000 or complete our online contact form to book your appointment today.