Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation – Is It Safe | How It Is Done?

To start with, breast augmentation refers to transferring fat from other parts of your body into your breasts for better shape and size. It is done through a process known as liposuction which is the procedure of reshaping a particular area of your body by removing excess fat at the same time improving body tone. Liposuction is a common practice in plastic surgeries such as tummy reduction, breast enhancement, etc. 

Due to the changing beauty standards of society heavily imposed by the fashion industry, a massive number of women approach breast augmentation to re-shape and enhance their breasts. This also includes women who have finished their cancer treatment, as well as mothers.

Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation was first performed in 1962 and today it ranks as the second most popular form of cosmetic surgery. The breast implants are said to last for 10-15 years with necessary maintenance surgeries in between. According to a survey conducted in 2015 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, around 2,79143 breast augmentations took place in the United States.

Breast augmentation

There are several reasons one opts for breast augmentation-

  • Restore breast shape and size
  • Restore the breasts’ symmetry
  • Increase the size of breasts.
  • Restore breasts after surgery.

No matter whether your breasts are small or have sagged after pregnancy and breastfeeding, breast augmentation helps you possess the beautifully shaped breasts of your desire. It increases your confidence level and provides your body with better shape. As appealing as it sounds, know that breast augmentation is a very personal choice so you need to make a proper decision before going for the surgery.

Also, it is not a treatment for breast cancer as it is only an enhancement procedure and comes under the category of cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive surgery is usually done in such cases. 

The breast implants can be mainly saline or silicone and are placed under the chest or breast tissue. These days, women are diverting to fat transfer breast augmentation which is the alternate choice for material implants. This is mainly because it provides a much more natural appearance at the same time has lesser risks compared to implants.

It involves 3 important steps that deal with fat cell removal and implanting it into the breast. A bonus point is that you will lose a lot of unwanted fat via this procedure. 

Sometimes your surgeon may recommend conducting Tissue Expansion before augmentation to enhance the results. It facilitates the growth of extra skin for reconstruction. The procedure involves inserting a silicone balloon expander next to the area of fat injection under the breast skin and is later on filled with carbon dioxide or saline.

It helps the skin to naturally stretch and grow which enhances the results of fat transfer breast augmentation. Tissue expansion is commonly used in some cosmetic surgeries and breast reconstruction along with breast removal. After tissue expansion, you will have to undergo a few injections for revamping your breasts.

Know that not all women require tissue expansion as it is based on anatomy. But in case your doctor suggests it, ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the process and clarify any queries if you have. 

Here are the step by step methods involved in fat transfer breast augmentation-

1. Sedation And Anesthesia

Sedation and anesthesia

Your surgeon will discuss with you the area to conduct liposuction. He will then provide mild sedation and an anesthetic to that area and draw specific lines to do the surgery.

2. Incision and liposuction

Incision and liposuction

Liposuction is done in the excess fat areas such as the belly, thighs, hips, etc. A small incision would be made in the target spot, after which a cannula is inserted to remove the fat cells. These cells are then stored in a container which will be processed later for transfer. 

Here the liposuction process is fully complete after which your doctor filters out the unwanted fluid, blood, and other impurities from the fat cells. It is also washed with antibiotics.  

This is mostly done to prevent infections. Tiny incisions in a circular pattern are then created around each breast. Note that the incisions are based on your anatomy as well as the patient-surgeon choice. 

3. Fat Grafting And Closing Of The Incision

Fat Grafting And Closing Of The Incision

The fat cells are now injected into the breast tissue and the incision is closed either through stitching, surgical tape, or skin adhesive. Since half of the fat is naturally reabsorbed by your body, your surgeon would be injecting excess fat.

Therefore multiple fat grafting is required. You are required to take sufficient rest for the area to heal. The scar will disappear over time but the duration is purely dependent on the person’s genetics as well as exposure to infection. 

Keep in mind that initially, you will feel discomfort and pain once augmentation is completed. You may notice that your breasts have become swollen and full. The areas where the fat injection took place might be also be bruised.

You can place ice packs to reduce the pain and cool down the soreness. Within a week or two, the swelling would naturally subside helping you to achieve the final results of well-shaped breasts.

The longevity of the obtained results is based on the surgeon’s skills, technique, and knowledge. It mostly aims at how fat grafting is performed. This is why it is mandatory to have a highly professional and experienced surgeon do the job for you.

You also have the option to go for Microfat Grafting which provides nourishment and blood supply to the fat cells. This helps to increase volume and provides long-term maintenance. Your surgeon would recommend suitable treatments to be performed before and after fat grafting to achieve permanently well-shaped breasts.

Since it involves both liposuction and breast enlargement, the increase in incisions involve risks of Deep Vein Thrombosis, bleeding, hematoma, and other infections. Some patients may experience intense pain, swelling, numbness, bruising, etc. Those who are above 40 years might endure saggy skin particularly in areas where fat cells were removed. If you notice any signs of infection, consult your doctor immediately. 

In severe cases, you may have to deal with Microcalcification or Calcification. It refers to small deposits of calcium salts on the skin. Although they are non-cancerous, they can potentially resemble the early signs of cancer via a mammogram. 

Sometimes, injecting fat cells or fat grafting may damage the breast tissue leading to Necrosis. It is in the form of hard lumps in the breast and can be felt through the skin or detected through ultrasound scans or mammograms. 

Other side effects include harmful reactions to anesthesia, unwanted scarring, etc. 

How is fat transfer breast augmentation done

Choosing the right surgeon is crucial for successful results. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery involves top-quality experienced surgeons. Upon making an appointment with your plastic surgeon, provide honest and correct details during your consultation. He/she will ask you about the desired goals and accordingly, will provide the necessary instructions. 

Depending upon your requirements, you will also be suggested extra procedures or treatments that add up to the effects of fat grafting breast augmentation. You can also bring photos of yourself to use as a reference as well as a representation before the procedure. Your surgeon will ask for complete details about-

  • Your current health status, medications, supplements, etc.
  • Whether you have previously undergone any cosmetic surgeries or surgeries in general.
  • Your smoking, drinking, and drug habits. 

Your surgeon would provide a computing image so that you have a preview of the result. Besides evaluating your physical health and features, he will study your skin elasticity, discuss the anesthetic requirements and possible complications involved.

All these factors are important to determine whether you are an ideal candidate or not. Ask your doctor about post-surgical care and the required time for complete recovery.

The best way to confidently go for the procedure is to self-educate. Thoroughly go through sources you can find on patient safety and the surgical facilities involved. Inform your plastic surgeon if you have a family history of breast cancer so that he can suggest safer methods. Discuss with your doctor to know whether your body is suitable for fat transfer breast augmentation.

He would conduct medical exams, fitness tests and will also provide your detailed medical history. Make sure to ask him about any queries you have. To help you have a better idea of the results, he will show you the before and after photos of the procedure or you can check out them online. Read or watch videos of individuals who have gone for fat grafting breast augmentation. This will give you sufficient information on the positives and negatives involved.

Understanding fat transfer breast augmentation to its core enables you to decide whether it can provide you the desired treatment or not. The fat injected into your breasts relies on the blood supply already present in the breasts. Therefore a skilled surgeon is very important to prevent fat cells from dying quickly. 

breast augmentation recovery

Just like most pre-surgery directions, your surgeon would prescribe a set of instructions that you need to follow to have a successful fat transfer breast augmentation. Here is what you can expect-

  • Take someone with you, be it your friend or family member who can stay with you after the surgery to help with any necessities and drive you home safely. 
  • Do not intake any NSAIDs ( Non-Steroidal Inflammatory Drugs), aspirins, or vitamins as it can increase your bleeding.
  • Drink enough water and keep yourself well hydrated for a speedy recovery. 
  • Stop smoking for around 6 weeks to prevent bruises and scars. 

Fat grafting breast augmentation allows only limited breast upliftment as there is a lack of space to inject fat cells. Nowadays, most surgeons recommend wearing a device known as Brava. It can be easily worn over a bra and is known to facilitate space within the breasts which helps to triple the number of transferred fat cells. You only need to wear it for around 3-4 weeks before the surgery.  

Fat transfer breast augmentation is a simple and effective process compared to typical breast implant surgeries. However, it comes with the following pros and cons-


  • Allows the surgeon to have more flexibility to design the shape of the breasts.         

  • Does not involve implanting foreign materials into your body.
  • Since the unwanted fat is transferred to the breasts, you achieve a better body shape.
  • Provides a natural appearance.
  • Produces fewer to no scars.
  • Involves no risk and does not require any maintenance surgeries. 


  • Not suitable for larger breast enhancement as the fat transfer is limited to one-cop size for each breast. 

  • More expensive as the procedure involves both liposuction and breast augmentation.
  • The fat can be reabsorbed by the body which may diminish the enhancement.
  • Unlike implants, the fat transfer does not result in breast upliftment
  • Requires multiple fat grafting for desired shape and size.
  • Additional expense and treatments if dissatisfied with the outcomes.  

Fat transfer breast augmentation allows comparatively limited breast enhancement. It is highly useful if you want to polish the imperfections of breast implants. Women who have finished their cancer treatment can make use of fat transfer augmentation to regain the natural shape and size of the breasts. Also, mothers who no longer want children can achieve the best benefits of augmentation.

Who Can Go For Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation

Women who have asymmetrical breasts can also opt for this procedure as it only needs to be done on one breast. However, fat transfer breast augmentation will not be suitable if you are planning to have larger breasts as it increases your breast size by only two or three cups. Although the surgery involves replacing your excess fat in your breasts, it does not guarantee significant weight loss.

So fat transfer breast augmentation must not be intended with weight goals. If you have sagging breasts, a breast uplift would provide you the desired results as breast augmentation does not change shape. You can also do uplift with augmentation. 


Thousands of people around the world are pleased with the benefits provided by fat transfer breast augmentation. Finding the right surgeon and educating yourself on the procedure can provide you the required confidence. Since it is an important personal decision, you need to be sure enough of your goals and prepare yourself well for the surgery. 

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