Breast enhancement using fat grafts, also known as fat transfer or lipoinjection, employs fat suctioned from the patient's abdomen, thighs or other fatty areas. This type of breast surgery can be used to increase the size of the breast or for breast defects or abnormalities, including enhancing the appearance after breast reconstruction and softening the look of existing implants. Lipoinjection of the breasts may offer patients permanent breast augmentation with a natural look and feel and the benefit of body contouring through liposuction-without the requirement for incisions or implants.
Fat transfer has a long history of use in the facial region for aesthetic improvement. The technique has recently been extended to the breast and body where much larger amounts of fat are injected. Breast shaping and augmentation with fat grafting provides a more natural aesthetic result for cosmetic and reconstructive patients. The placement of the fat grafts allows for shaping of the breast in a manner previously not attainable. The result is a natural appearing reshaped breast in which telltale signs of implants and surgery are absent - the resultant breast is natural appearing.
However, long-term safety and efficacy data, and the effect of the procedure on breast cancer screening using mammography, is still being evaluated in clinical studies. Concerns about fat grafting for breast enhancement include typically low survival rates of the transferred cells (which are frequently absorbed by the body), development of cysts, and calcification and tissue scarring. It is possible for fat grafting to produce changes in the breast that may be deemed suspicious on examination by a physician or on mammography, which may require further testing to determine if the findings are related to breast cancer. This procedure offers mostly a one cup size enlargement and the degree of enlargement will depend on the amount of spare fat that the patient has.
Fat grafting to the breast is showing promising results and may become a popular breast augmentation procedure. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery recognizes the growing interest in fat grafting for breast enhancement, and continues to monitor clinical evidence which documents the safety and efficacy of this procedure. Patients should meet with their board certified plastic surgeon and discuss the most recent research and options.
For more information about fat grafting, please read "Fat Grafting for the Breast: What Women Should Know":
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