Fat grafting involves harvesting fat cells with liposuction from one part of the body and injecting into another. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), it’s a procedure with few surgical complications and is most commonly used cosmetically for the hands and face.
While fat grafting for breast augmentation has been a relatively obscure procedure, new studies, such as this one, are building evidence that it could be effective for breast enhancement.
The study, authored by Boston plastic surgeon Daniel Del Vecchio, MD, and Philadelphia plastic surgeon Louis Bucky, MD, was conducted over two years with 25 patients who had breast enhancement with fat grafting.
Before the procedure, patients were photographed and had MRI and/or 3D breast imaging, followed by three weeks of expansion, such as wearing a suction bra every day. Patients were again photographed and had the other breast imaging tests repeated six months after the surgery.
Results showed that at six months post surgery all patients had visible breast volume increase. The mean volume increase was 250 cc per breast.
The study concluded that patient selection and pre-expansion of the breasts are important variables in the success of the procedure. The authors add that the technique can be performed in a time efficient manner with reproducible, long-lasting results.
ASPS noted, While the procedure is gaining scientific validity and traction among plastic surgeons, it is not the same as having breast enlargement with implants.
ASPS and ASAPS initially cautioned against fat grafting for breast augmentation because some of the side effects, such as calcification, were difficult to distinguish mammographically between calcifications associated with breast cancer vs. those associated with fat transfer. However, more recent radiology literature suggests that new generations of mammography equipment, especially digital mammography, are better able to pick up the difference between cancer cells and benign ones, according to the societies.
Read the study’s abstract online at plasticsurgery.org.