Breast Augmentation is the most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedure over the last decade. According to American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in just 2017 alone, more than 300,000 surgeries were performed.
Although interest in breast implants is at an all-time high, stigma and misinformation still surround this colloquially known “boob job”. In a previous post, I debunked common breast implant myths that often cause unfounded worries to women considering breast augmentation.
If implants are strictly out of the question for you, be it due to personal preference or medical reasons, what is the alternative?
With the introduction of fat transfer (or lipotransfer), the new fad is to recycle your fat and inject it into your breasts, buttocks, face or anywhere there is a desire for more volume. The result is a shapelier body and larger breast size “au naturale”.
Am I Suitable?
If you are looking at going from cup A– to C or D, fat grafting may not be the choice for you. The good news is breast enhancement of 2 cup sizes IS achievable with fat transfer. One criteria is to have enough fat reserves. If you are very slim, then the chances of having enough fat for lipotransfer are slim too. So for those looking to get rid of stubborn pockets of fat, this is the ideal solution to shift them to your breasts. Because (thankfully) the stubbornness of this fat is retained after lipotransfer, your new breast fat becomes resistant to exercise and dieting too, especially if you are considering weight loss.
How About The Décolletage
A great perk of using fat transfer is the power of fat in skin rejuvenation. Studies have shown that after fat transfer, the overlying skin and even scars also improves in quality and appearance. This lead to the rise of Nanofat, which is a reservoir of your fat stem cells and growth factors, best known for its regenerative and repair ability. Nanofat transfer will rejuvenate sun-damaged, wrinkled and crepey skin often seen in the décolletage area.
How Is It Done?
Fat retrieval starts with liposuction using specialised fat harvesting instruments. The fat is process to concentrate the cells and stem cells, also known as adipocyte-derived stem cells (ADSCs), before reinjection into the breasts. Fat transfer is performed under sedation and is a day procedure with no need hospital stay.
Breasts that look AND feel natural are achievable with fat transfer. Immediately after surgery and in the first week of recovery, the breast will often be around 30% larger, partly from swelling and partly because some fat cells will resorb. It is common to have more than one session of fat injection, to achieved the desired results. “One common mistake is to inject too much fat in one session,” explains Dr Chia Hui Ling, Consultant Plastic Surgeon from SW1 Clinic, “the excess fat injected has poor chance of survival and may lead to complications such as lumpiness and hardening.” Dr Chia has a special interest in lipotransfer and is a keen researcher in fat grafting techniques. She added, “Using the right techniques and a meticulous approach at each step of the fat grafting process, from harvesting to processing to injection, is paramount in achieving the best lipotransfer results.”
After surgery, bruising is common and lasts for 1-2 weeks. After the swelling subsides, you will see the lasting final result at around 3 months, when the injected fat has settled in its “new home”. This outcome is permanent, but may still alter in size following events such as weight fluctuations and ongoing aging.
No women has perfectly symmetrical breasts. After all, breasts are sisters not twins. Fat grafting is an excellent tool for equalizing breast size. Still, sometimes the settling in, or take, of the fat grafts may differ between breasts, causing asymmetrical results. The next session of fat grafting is then an opportunity to balance out this asymmetry.
What’s The Damage
Fat transfer to the breasts cost more than $10,000 per procedure, averaging around $15,000-$20,000.