Fat grafting is proving to be one of the safer ways to effect breast augmentation, breast lift and breast enlargement. Fat grafting has fewer risks than implants. Unlike implants, fat grafting doesn't have the risk of leaking a foreign substance into the body. Since the patient's own fat is used for the breast augmentation, there's also no chance of the material being rejected.
Fat grafts work well for women who have had a lumpectomy or whose breasts are asymmetrical. It's also good for women who aren't particularly interested in an augmentation that would be very noticeable. This particular rejuvenation technique takes a large amount of fat to be successful. Women who are slender may be surprised to learn that they simply don't have enough extra body fat for this treatment.
The fat that will be used for a breast lift or a breast enlargement is often harvested from the fat taken from a liposuction. During a liposuction, a cosmetic surgeon uses a vacuum cannula to remove fat from unwanted places in the body. These places are often the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, knees and under the chin. However, the surgeon may simply withdraw fat from an area in the patient's body specifically for the purpose of breast augmentation. In that case, the surgeon will numb the area with a local anesthetic and withdraw the fat with a needle. The procedure takes between two and four hours. The patient can leave the doctor's office immediately and spend a weekend resting before going back to work or other activities.
The fat extraction itself will most likely cause some swelling and bruising, but these will subside after a few days.
The fat itself is sterilized and placed in a centrifuge before it's returned to the body. The sterilization removes any pathogens, and the centrifuge separates the fat cells from any liquid. In some cases, the fat can be frozen in case the patient wants to return for another augmentation. One of the risks of grafting fat into the breasts is that the fat may be reabsorbed over time. Though this is harmless, it may also lead to the patient's breasts returning to the size and shape she was unhappy with before.
The cosmetic surgeon evaluates the patient's medical history during the initial consultation to make sure she's a good candidate for the grafting. If she is, she might be given a certain type of bra to wear that will help her breasts expand. She may need to wear this device for a month to a month and half. Expanding the breasts this way allows the fat cells to find space to grow and develop a healthy blood supply. The patient will also need to wear the device for a while after the surgery.
During the grafting, the fat is injected into the breast with small cannulas made just for the purpose. The cosmetic surgeon doesn't need to make large incisions. Some doctors inject the fat drop by drop into the breast in a clockwise pattern. The fat is usually placed on top of the patient's chest muscle, which reduces pain. Some implants are inserted beneath the patient's chest wall.
More and more women are looking into this type of breast rejuvenation, and more and more plastic surgeons are willing to perform it.
By Julia Svent