What is Fat Grafting?
Fat grafting, or fat transfer, is a procedure used to remove fat from one area of the body and place it in another area to increase volume, change contour, fill in a defect or depression, or restore shape. Fat grafting can be performed in the breast to adjust volume and to improve contour in patients that have undergone breast implant removal, breast reconstruction, lumpectomy, breast radiation, or breast trauma.
Fat grafting is often used as a post procedure tool to address imperfections after a Breast Implant Removal, for minor asymmetry correction, concave shape, and to adjust any unwanted dimpling in the addressed areas of treatment.
Things to Consider
Each woman considering fat grafting should have a thorough consultation and take time to consider the pros and cons of the procedure. Social media and the internet often portray this operation and an easy way to increase the breast size without describing the limitations in predicting long term results. For safest predictable results and best use of your time and resources, careful consideration should be given to you desires and long term goals.
Women who desire significant breast size increase should carefully consider options before choosing fat grafting. The most predictable techniques for long term outcomes in fat grafting to increase multiple cup sizes involve some “pre-expansion” techniques that usually involve wearing a device to prepare your breast for fat transfer. Without this approach, most of the fat injected typically does not survive, and women report usually less than 50% of the starting volume remains. For augmentation, grafting is time-consuming, expensive, and you should expect to need several sessions to achieve a long-lasting result.
Fat grafting can work well in modest volumes to correct irregularities, fill in volume gaps, improve contour and shape. The longevity depends on the amount of fat that survives the transfer, and is subject to your aging, weight changes, hormones, and genetics.
The Fat Grafting Procedure
Fat is harvested using a small cannula under low pressure with a syringe type device. This is not the same as liposuction and uses a more gentle and precise technique. The effect of using a more delicate technique of harvesting is to protect the integrity of the cells for transfer. The fat is then placed in a centrifuge filter, or alternate device to separate unwanted fluid and cells from the fat to be used in grafting.
Donor sites (where the fat comes from on your body) often include the abdomen, hips, and thighs. Donor sites that have the best fat tend to be areas that you might say are more resistant to change with weight changes. These cells tend to be more stable after transfer. The incisions can be placed in inconspicuous areas below the underwear line, in the buttock crease. The fat can be harvested often successfully even in thin women. Gaining weight before surgery is not necessary or recommended.
The area in need of fat grafting is carefully defined before surgery. The more stable and healthy the area is where the fat is being transferred, the greater the chance of fat survival and long term stability. The fat is transferred in very small amounts (1cc) at a time and the fat is gently layered into place to allow for greatest opportunity for adjacent blood flow which allows the fat to rapidly survive.
Contact us at 678.566.7200 to meet with Dr. Rudderman in our Alpharetta or Midtown Atlanta offices.
Real Patient Reviews
Written and reviewed by:
This article was written by Dr. Randy Rudderman, who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (1994). He practices medicine at his offices in Alpharetta and Atlanta.
Learn more about Dr. Rudderman, his medical training, and credentials.
Post Surgery Expectations & Results
- You will wake up with a small dressing over the treated area and a surgical bra.
- Mild swelling and some discomfort are normal and to be expected. This resolves on its own and often requires some pain medication for 24 hours then only acetaminophen.
- You will be seen in the office 24 hours post-surgery and given a more comfortable bra.
- Swelling generally is mild and resolves in 2-3 weeks.
- Sutures are absorbable and do not need to be removed.
- You will have a compression garment on the fat donor areas site that is treated like liposuction surgery.
- Most patients who have surgery on Thursday can return to desk work Monday.
- Avoid strenuous activity for 3 weeks. Dr. Rudderman will tell you when you can start to exercise again.
- Measurable results are typically visible immediately, but be patient, healing and stabilizing takes time. It can take months for the “new you” to be clearly seen.
The results from the fat grafting procedure are long-lasting. A good follow-up plan is necessary. Additional fat transfer surgery may be considered if additional volume correction is desired. All breast need good long term follow-up for evaluation of breast disease by your practitioner of choice.
Fat Grafting Frequently Asked Questions
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