Fat transfer or fat grafting is one of the fastest growing types of plastic surgery.  During this procedure, fat is harvested from regions of excess fatty tissue, carefully prepared, and then reinjected into other sites for soft tissue augmentation.  It has several applications within plastic surgery, including adding volume to address signs of facial aging (often combined with facelift surgery), correcting soft tissue irregularities following trauma or other surgeries, and more recently breast fat transfer for augmentation.  Breast fat transfer may be performed for both reconstructive and cosmetic cases.  Patients often inquire regarding this surgery given that it may achieve greater breast volume with the need for an implant.  Removal of unwanted fatty tissue for further contouring is also appealing.  So, what determines whether a patient is a candidate for breast fat transfer?

  1. Aesthetic goals

    • During consultation, your aesthetic goals will be discussed in detail.  Although there is no exact measurement of breast cup size, a reasonable goal of breast fat transfer would be to increase a cup size or so following surgery.  It is important to understand that not all fatty tissue that is harvested may be reinjected.  The fat is first separated from fluid and oil components, which accounts for some volume loss.  Once the purified fat is injected, it must establish a new blood supply.  So not all fat that is injected will survive either.  Overcorrection is generally performed to account for resorption of up to 30%.  It would be unlikely for a patient to achieve an increase from an A to D cup, for example, during one procedure.  If sufficient fat stores are present, it may be possible to achieve greater breast volume, but more than one surgery may be required.
  2. Amount of donor site fatty tissue

    • One of the biggest factors in determining whether a patient is a candidate for breast fat transfer is the amount of redundant fatty tissue at other sites available for harvest.  Although slender patients often inquire regarding breast fat transfer, many times these patients may not have sufficient fatty tissue available for harvest and fat injection.  In these cases, an implant-based augmentation may still be required.
  3. Clinical presentation

    • If a patient has breast ptosis (or droopiness following significant weight loss or pregnancies and breastfeeding), breast fat transfer may not be recommended.  While breast fat transfer may achieve greater breast volume, fat grafting alone will not achieve a breast lift.  Fat transfer may be combined with other breast surgeries, for example, a lift or revision breast surgery to mask implant visibility or rippling due to limited soft tissue coverage.  Breast fat transfer alone may not be recommended based on clinical presentation.


If considering breast augmentation – whether breast fat transfer or breast implants – please contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Power.  She will discuss the procedure in detail and advise whether this surgery may help you achieve your aesthetic goals.


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