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Breast Augmentation, Breast

Understanding the Pros and Cons of Fat Transfer in Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is one of the single most popular cosmetic procedures performed in the United States every year. But for some women, the idea of getting breast implants is unappealing. For those who don't want implants, but are still looking for ways to enhance their breasts, fat transfer breast enhancement can be an appealing choice.

Rather than using an implant, fat transfer breast augmentation uses your body's own fat to increase the size of your bust. Fat is harvested from the hips, thighs, or tummy, purified, and then carefully injected into the breast for an all-natural enhancement that looks and feels like the real deal.

Is fat transfer really better than getting implants?

It sounds perfect on the surface, but there are pros and cons to both fat transfer and breast implants. In this article, we'll take a look at both types of breast augmentation to give you a better idea of what each procedure entails, whether fat transfer breast enhancement is right for you, or if implants will be better.

Two More Quick Questions

When to Consider Fat Transfer for Breast Augmentation

Fat transfer breast augmentation can be a good choice if you desire a mild to moderate increase in breast size (½-to-1 cup size) and would like to avoid having implants.

But if you're looking for more than a cup size increase, breast augmentation using implants is a more reliable and consistent procedure.

Also, if you have noticeable sagging of the breasts, then a breast lift with or without implants will deliver better results than fat transfer. Simply increasing breast volume through fat transfer alone does little to lift or reshape the breasts.

The Advantages of Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation

  • 100% natural. Only uses your body's own tissues so the results look and feel very soft and natural.
  • Can dramatically reshape the entire body. In addition to augmented the breasts, fat transfer breast augmentation provides the second benefit of body contouring. The liposuction that is used to harvest fat can dramatically reshape the body. This means you can get a new figure with a flatter tummy, slimmer thighs, and/or a more sculpted waistline in addition to larger breasts.
  • Virtually scarless. Only tiny incisions are used through which fat is harvested and injected.
  • No Implants. Avoids the risks associated with implants such as implant malposition, rupture, and capsular contracture.

The Disadvantages of Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation

  • A limited degree of augmentation. Fat transfer breast augmentation can only produce up to a one cup size increase. Breast implants, in contrast, can produce a one, two, or even three or more increase in cup size.
  • The fat can be reabsorbed by the body. The best plastic surgeons perform fat transfer very carefully, so the survival of transferred fat is maximized. However, even in the best of hands, some of the transferred fat will be resorbed by the body. There is a small chance that a large percentage of the transferred fat will be resorbed, which can produce a less-than-desired enhancement or the need for multiple treatments.
  • Does not lift the breast. Fat transfer cannot correct sagging breasts brought about by age, genetics, pregnancy, or weight loss.
  • It's more expensive. Because fat transfer breast augmentation is really like performing two procedures at once (liposuction plus breast augmentation), it is usually more expensive than breast augmentation using implants. On the whole, fat transfer is typically $5,000-$10,000 more expensive than breast implants.

Read More: How Much Does Breast Augmentation Cost?

What If I Don’t Have Enough Fat?

It's a myth that slender women cannot undergo fat transfer.

In most circumstances, a highly skilled plastic surgeon can harvest enough fat for breast augmentation from a surprisingly slender woman. If you are very skinny, you may be asked to intentionally gain a few pounds prior to your procedure.

A personal consultation remains the best way to gauge whether or not you have sufficient fat to "donate" for your breast augmentation.

Reasons to Consider Breast Implants Instead

Now that you’re aware of the pros and cons of fat transfer, let's look at the option of breast implants. If you're looking for a more dramatic increase in size, implants may be the better choice.

Additionally, breast implants have the following advantages over fat transfer:

  • Implants can provide a larger degree of augmentation compared to fat transfer.
  • Implants can provide more cleavage (ie. fullness of the upper pole of the breast) compared to fat transfer.
  • Implants provide more consistent results, as there is no possibility of fat resorption.
  • Implants usually cost less than fat transfer.

It may be helpful to know that implants represent over 95% of breast augmentation procedures performed. Fat transfer, on the other hand, represents less than 5% of breast enhancement surgeries.

See Before & After Photos of Breast Augmentation and Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation

Your Next Step to Naturally Gorgeous Breasts

In summary, fat transfer can be a good option for breast enhancement if you’re after a modest boost or also want to reshape your entire body. But it has downsides too, like the possibility of fat resorption and higher costs. For these reasons, you need to reflect on your breast enhancement goals before making a decision between fat transfer and implants.

In addition, be extra careful to find a surgeon who understands that breast augmentation is not just about making your breasts bigger. Breast augmentation requires careful attention to detail and a keen sense of artistry so that you can get beautiful and natural results. Your surgeon should be able to help decide between fat transfer and implants.

Cosmetic procedures of any kind, whether invasive or not, are serious business. Before committing to any type of procedure, learn everything you can. That way, you'll be armed with the knowledge to make an informed choice for your body.

Ultimately, before making a decision, you'll need to schedule an in-person consultation. In the meantime, you can use this cosmetic self-evaluation to see if you're a good candidate for breast augmentation.

Wondering if you're a candidate?


About the Author

Dr. Larry Fan is a Harvard educated, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Francisco, CA. He is a Master Artist who is known for creating beautiful, stunning, and natural results. Dr. Fan has been named One of America's Top Plastic Surgeons for the past 10 years running and has received several national awards for his work in Plastic Surgery. He has successfully performed more than 10,000 cosmetic procedures of the face, breasts, and body over a 20 year period. Dr Fan has been an invited speaker at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons, and has been featured in national media outlets such as CNN, NBC, and ABC.

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