Fat Transfer to Breast: How the Procedure Works, Cost & Effectiveness


Fat Transfer to Breast: How the Procedure Works, Cost & Effectiveness

When it comes to options for breast augmentation, many women are choosing to have fat transferred from other parts of their body to increase volume.

The procedure involves liposuction of other body areas, processing the fat, and injecting it into the tissues of the breasts. The most realistic result, according to experts we’ve interviewed, is a “modest augmentation” that increases the volume of the breasts between one-half to a full cup size.

This article takes a comprehensive look at fat transfer to breasts. We’ve gathered input from four plastic surgeons who offer their expertise about how this procedure works, how much it costs, potential side effects, and other details so you can decide if this option is right for you.

Keep in mind that this article is not intended as medical advice. Before you decide to undergo any procedure, it’s important to talk to your medical provider, first.

How Fat Transfer Compares to Breast Implants

Most patients seek fat transfer to the breast to increase breast size and volume for a cosmetic enhancement or reconstruction, according to Dr. Yuly Gorodisky, owner of the West Coast Plastic Surgery Center in Oxnard who is board-certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery.

“Breast implants provide more fullness and a more predictable increase in size,” Dr. Gorodisky noted. “Fat transfer usually provides a more subtle enhancement.”

Patients who are interested in fat transfer to the breast may have a preconceived fear of silicone or implant surgery, Dr. Gorodisky further noted, “or some patients who want their implants removed due to scarring or rupture and would like to increase the breast fullness without replacing the implants.”

Both fat transfer and breast implants have their plusses and minuses, said Dr. Brent Moelleken, whose practice, Moelleken Plastic Surgery, is located in Beverly Hills, California.

He noted that breast implants involve placing a prosthetic device either in front of or behind the muscle, increasing breast size.

“Breast implants typically must be redone at some point in the future, but give reliable augmentation in a single procedure,” Dr. Moelleken explained. “Fat injection to the breasts can cause lumps which may require biopsy.”

Dr. Jaime Schwartz, owner of Schwartz Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills, California, started doing fat transfers years ago, first as part of the normal breast reconstruction process.

“And now we use it for women who don’t want implants, but still want an increase in volume,” Dr. Schwartz said. “The difference is that a fat transfer is an actual living tissue, so the result is an increase in volume in the breasts that looks and feels completely natural.”

Dr. Schwartz added that some women prefer a more subtle enhancement. “Also not everyone is comfortable with having implants in their body,” he said.

Implants guarantee a certain size, less operating room time, only one surgical field, and fewer risks if only one area is operated on, said Dr. Maria M. LoTempio, a board-certified plastic surgeon and owner of LoTempio Plastic Surgery for Women in New York, New York.

She agreed that some people would elect fat transfer over breast implants because they do not want a foreign body inside them.

“They also do not want the maintenance of seeing a plastic surgeon and future surgeries in case of replacement,” Dr. LoTempio noted.

The results of fat transfer to the breasts are less dramatic and don’t give as much fullness as implant augmentation, Dr. LoTempio added.

“There are more possibilities of complications with fat transfer to the breasts,” she said. “The procedure costs more and takes longer than a regular implant augmentation.”

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