Fat Grafting – Fat Transfer For Breast Augmentation
Imagine a larger breast without an implant! Now imagine using your own body fat as the implant itself. Is this even possible? It is now! With a procedure called autologous fat grafting, fat can be removed from one part of your body and transferred to the breast – in a single procedure and without any visible scars! This revolutionary procedure adds a totally new dimension to breast augmentation and reconstruction as a patient’s own body fat is used exclusively to enlarge the breast! With this approach, the traditional breast implant is no longer used at all.
This is probably the hottest topic in plastic surgery right now but it’s actually been around for quite some time. Until recently, however, its use in the breast wasn’t encouraged since its survival was inconsistent as a result of poorer techniques. However, since current and ongoing research has continued to support its safety, more and more surgeons have been using it for breast augmentation and breast reconstruction with success and outcomes that have been literally transforming.
Of course the advantages of fat grafting over breast implants are tremendous. Once integrated into the breast, fat has an absolutely natural feel and because fat is collected and transferred through mini-incisions, scars are virtually invisible. And unlike implants which almost always require removal or replacement at some point in a patient’s life, there is the likelihood that with fat no further surgery will ever have to be performed again. This is a huge factor since additional surgery with implants will incur extra surgery and out of pocket expenses. With fat, once it is placed and integrated, it will be there for life. Fat is also lighter than either a saline or silicone gel implant so it is likely to have less of an impact on breast sagging or undesired changes if these were to occur. Another factor is that implant devices have a predetermined size and shape and are subject to deformities and movement within the pocket whereas fat – which is placed as minute droplets within the tissues surrounding the breast – won’t move and can be placed anywhere to more accurately fill and contour the breast’s natural shape. Finally, since women almost always have areas where liposuction is desired, the added bonus of body contouring in areas where fat is harvested can’t help but result in a win-win situation!
One caveat to fat grafting is that it is living tissue and, therefore, cannot be simply “injected” into the body like the many fillers that are available in today’s market. Because of this, Dr. Kayser’s skills as a board certified plastic surgeon are especially relevant since the harvesting, handling and transfer of fat are extremely important in fat grafting procedures. Since the breast is such a unique organ, all measures must be taken to minimize fat loss or injury which could result in changes that could be mistaken for breast abnormalities on physical exam or mammogram. However, keep in mind that even a breast implant will have an affect on breast cancer screening or detection.
Newer and clearer theories are emerging as to how and why fat survives and what techniques enhance fat graft survival. A recent study suggests that the use of an external expansion device called BRAVA® before and after surgery can increase fat survival when it is used in the breast for augmentation. As a co-investigator in a study to further evaluate the use of BRAVA® in fat grating to the breast, Dr. Kayser is able to provide this system to his patients for both breast enhancement and reconstruction in patients who have undergone mastectomies for breast cancer.
This new frontier is cutting edge medicine and there is little doubt that fat grafting to the breast will continue to increase in popularity as a primary form of breast augmentation and reconstruction!