Dr. Jennifer Walden now offers fat grafting to augment the breasts in Austin, Texas. Micro-fat grafting is an implant-free fat transfer breast augmentation technique developed by Dr. Roger Khouri of Miami, Florida. Dr. Khouri is a world-renowned expert in this technique whom Dr. Walden has learned from in the operating room. This outpatient technique is minimally invasive and has the wonderful added benefit of liposuction of other areas of the body.
What Is Fat Grafting?
Fat grafting, also known as fat transfer or autologous fat transfer, is the process of using the patient’s own fat to increase the volume of fat in another area of their body. The fat is harvested or extracted with a liposuction cannula. They are prepared for reintroduction into the body and injected into the new part of the body where the additional bulk is used for medical or cosmetic purposes. The most common donor areas, where fat is taken from, are the stomach, thighs, and waist.
Benefits of a Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
Natural breast augmentation is one of the terms used to describe the fat transfer to breast procedure as an alternative to breast implants. Aside from being a process that enhances breast shape without the use of artificial structures, breast augmentation with fat transfer to breast offers benefits such as:
- Small, discreet incisions in the area of fat harvesting
- Shorter recovery time than traditional breast augmentation
- Fewer risks and a very low rate of complications (both for cosmetic and reconstructive purposes)
- Dr. Walden’s technique preserves the highest quantity of fat cells
- One- to two-cup increase with just one procedure
- Address problem areas and get an “all-over” makeover
- Fat transfer to breast can be performed to improve the results of breast implant surgery
- Suitable for some cases of breast reconstruction
Ideal Candidate for a fat transfer to breast
Ideal candidates for this highly specialized procedure have:
- Good skin elasticity and tone. The fat transfer to breast procedure only increases breast size; it does not correct stretched or saggy skin and breast tissue. Having loose breast tissue does not exclude a patient from this procedure. A breast lift may be performed as needed to restore adequate perkiness.
- Sufficient fatty tissue in other areas of the body to obtain fat cells for transfer. A fat transfer to breast requires a greater amount of fat than other techniques, such as facial fat grafting. We may need to obtain fat cells from multiple areas to achieve the desired result.
- A desire to increase breast size subtly. Currently, a single fat transfer to breast procedure can increase breast size one to two cup sizes.
Fat transfer breast augmentation Procedure
During the outpatient procedure, Dr. Walden removes fat from one area of your body and meticulously injects it back into the breast. These micro-fat transfers (autologous grafts) are harvested by gentle liposuction from the thighs, buttocks, and stomach–wherever there is fat to spare. Even skinny patients do well with this procedure. The fat then grows within a matrix of tissue and the breasts are enlarged rather naturally while the patient receives the benefit of liposuction.
By using your own fat, your breasts can be made one to two cup sizes larger without an implant.
New moms also like this procedure, since it is perfect to restore volume that normally deflates after childbirth as well as getting rid of stubborn pockets of fat via liposuction of the body after having a baby. This technique is available to appropriate candidates after physical examination by the doctor; please mention it at your consultation if you are interested in learning more.
If you already have implants and have issues such as capsular contracture, thin tissues, or visible rippling, you may want to consider several other options. You may consider implant exchange with fat transfer to the breast and decolletage to help the breasts look natural and hide the implant shell; or if you are “done” with implants, then you may opt for explantation (removal of implants and any capsular scar tissue), and replacement of volume with fat transfer from areas liposuction performed on other areas of your body that you desire to be slimmer. Many women who have had older generation implants for decades opt for since when they don’t want to necessarily get new implants due to pre-existing or recurrent capsular contracture issues. Some women may have had multiple implant surgeries over their lifetime and don’t want to deal with the maintenance and check-ups involved with breast implants anymore since they are predisposed to developing recurrent bouts of capsular contracture. Sometimes a breast lift (mastopexy) is needed at the same time as explantation and fat grafting to lift the nipple-areolar complex to the desired height and make the breast “perky” again.
How long does a fat transfer to breast procedure take?
There are two phases of this breast-enhancing technique. The first is to obtain fat cells from one or more areas of the body and the second is to inject pure fat cells into the breasts.
The time that it takes to complete both phases can range from approximately 2 hours to 4 or more hours depending on the experience of the surgeon conducting the procedure. Dr. Walden has trained in the operating room with Dr. Roger Khouri, a renowned expert in fat transfer breast augmentations. Her skill enables her to move swiftly but in a manner that best preserves the fat cells being introduced into the breasts. During your consultation, we will discuss the estimated length of time we predict for your personalized breast procedure.
Fat Grafting Results
The results of fat transfer breast augmentation look natural because they are! There are no implants or artificial devices used, only fat cells. Furthermore, the technique that Dr. Walden uses inserts fat where it will have the greatest impact on breast shape.
How long will the results last?
We expect some of the fat cells that are transferred to die off. However, this percentage is quite low. The fat cells that integrate into the breasts remain intact indefinitely. However, like all fat cells, those that have been transferred can grow larger or shrink according to the overall weight. If you lose weight after your fat transfer, your breast size may decrease. Likewise, your breasts may grow larger if you gain weight. Finally, age and gravity will have an effect on the breasts, which may result in sagging in the future. This is a problem that can be remedied, if need be, with a breast lift.
Fat Grafting Recovery
Patients often express surprise at how easy their recovery from fat transfer breast augmentation is compared to their expectations. It is often possible to begin resuming normal activities within a day or two after surgery. However, patients should expect some swelling and soreness, both in the breasts and at liposuction sites.
Bruising is also common. Comfort can be managed with over-the-counter medication. If needed, prescription pain relief may be taken as directed for a few days.
Within a week, patients can return to work and other light activities. More strenuous exercise, including yoga and weight training, may resume after a few weeks.
A sports bra may be ideal for providing comfortable support without restriction.
Patients are provided with detailed post-operative instructions to help them as they recover from a fat transfer breast augmentation. We are also available during business hours to answer questions that may arise.
The fat transfer to breast procedure is performed with appropriate anesthesia so patients do not feel any pain. The mild discomfort that results from surgery is manageable with pain-relieving medication and a comfortable support bra. Some patients may wish to wear a compression garment to support tissue healing in their liposuction areas.
The clinical performance of fat transfer breast augmentation has indicated that this technique is very safe. Fewer complications have been associated with this procedure than breast augmentation using implants and patients report high satisfaction with their augmentation choice.
Currently, breast implant surgery is the only alternative to fat grafting for larger, fuller breasts. Some patients may consider a breast lift without implants to achieve the appearance of perkier, shapelier breasts without an increase in size.
Risks of surgical procedures include infection and bleeding. The fat grafting technique involves gentle liposuction, a procedure that could result in a rippled appearance. Dr. Walden conducts her procedures with the utmost care to achieve a smooth and consistent outcome. Studies suggest that there may also be a risk of cysts or calcifications forming in new breast tissue. The most common risk of fat transfer to the breasts is that a percentage of transferred fat cells may not survive. If needed, an additional transfer procedure can be conducted to improve shape and symmetry.