Breast Fat Injections are 100% Natural, But is it Right for You?
Pros and Cons of Breast Fat Transfer
Do you want to enhance breasts naturally? There are plenty of natural breast enhancement pills, creams and potions on the market. Unfortunately, none of them are proven to work.
Your next thought may be breast implants. While breast augmentation is the #1 plastic surgery in the world today, some women hesitate. There has been a lot of negative press about breast implants.
While FDA and TGA-approved breast implants are proven safe, some women fear the worst. Silicone implants can greatly improve breast size and shape. They can even help lift sagging breasts after breastfeeding or pregnancy or weight loss, to a degree. However, they do have some limitations.
Yet there is a medically proven way to increase bust size without implants, hormones, or potions…
And it’s 100% natural.
Enter breast fat injections. Using your own natural fat, you can increase cup size, improve breast symmetry, and even get a subtle lift. Also known as breast fat grafting, this procedure is growing in popularity. It works by removing fat with liposuction, then injecting the fat into your breasts. Fat injections are safe and effective. It has a faster recovery and less side effects than breast implants, too.
In this article, you will learn a cosmetic surgeon’s secrets to using your own body fat to enhance or reshape your breasts after weight loss or pregnancy.
History of breast fat transfer
Fat injections have been around for a long time. Recently growing in popularity in Australia, it first made waves in Europe and the U.S. Breast fat injections can be done during reconstructive breast surgery, breast lifts, tummy tucks, and more. Much of its success is due to its good safety profile.
Breast fat injections are also known as breast fat grafting, breast fat transfer, or analogous fat transfer.
How do breast fat injections work?
Fat injections into the breast is a 3-step surgical procedure.
First, liposuction removes body fat
First, Dr Bernard Beldholm, FRACS will use liposuction to remove body fat from one area. After you are safely under general anesthesia in our comfortable and clean private operating room, Doctor Bernard will refine and sculpt the area that you wish to have fat removed.
This can be nearly anywhere you like, from abdominal fat to back fat, hips, arms or thighs. We see patients with all body types.
Sculpting and shaping the body has many benefits. Lipo removes fat with ease, using gentle suction to suck away fat where you don’t want it. Using a careful hand and an artistic eye, Doctor Bernard will reshape the target site during the liposuction procedure.
Lipo is great for getting rid of small to moderate fat pockets nearly anywhere on the body.
Many patients are happy just to remove fat. Modern lipo leaves your figure more shapely and defined. Normally, the fat is discarded. But that fat has great potential. In breast fat transfer, Doctor Bernard makes good use of the fat by removing it from one area, then injecting it into the breasts.
This gives women a nice physique that looks more toned and youthful, while enhancing breasts at the same time.
Next, the fat is washed
The fat is placed in a revolving canister that separates and purifies the fat cells. Once cleaned, the fat is placed in a cannula. It is now ready for injection into the breasts.
After the fat is cleaned, it gets injected into the breasts
Injecting fat into the breasts is a delicate process. We are dealing with live fat. It is living tissue. Once injected, it needs a good blood supply in order for the fat to survive in the breast.
Fat survives by diffusion. The blood supply diffuses the fat cells with nutrients and oxygen. If successful, blood vessels will start growing into the fat, keeping the fat cells alive. This must happen quickly, or the fat cells will die.
Doctor Bernard does this by injecting the fat in very thin strings. It must be done this way to get a good result. Small, thin injections (or micro-graphs) give the fat cells more surface area so the blood supply can nourish them. Thus, the blood vessels have an easier time growing into the fat.
Where does the fat for breast fat transfer come from?
You can get liposuction to harvest fat for breast injections from various parts of the body. Nearly anywhere you have excess body fat can be treated. The most popular body parts for fat harvesting are:
- Belly fat
- Hips, flanks, and sides
- Back fat
- Inner thigh fat
- Upper arm fat
- And more.
Abdominal liposuction with breast fat transfer
The tummy is one of the first places men and women store fat. Many patients hang on to excess belly fat, even after reaching a stable weight on the scale. Despite a healthy diet and exercise, many patients struggle to get rid of belly fat. This can be frustrating. Genetics, gender, weight distribution, lifestyle and age all play a role.
Harvesting abdominal fat is one of the best ways to get fat for breast fat transfer. If you have a belly bulge, liposuction can easily remove the fat. Then, the fat can be safely injected into the breasts for a subtle enhancement.
Most people store fat on the belly, hips, flanks, and sides. This gives your surgeon an ample source of fat for breast fat injections.
While many people have belly fat, Doctor Bernard sees a lot of patients that also have loose skin. Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is an excess skin removal surgery. A tummy tuck with lipo removes loose skin and refines abdominal fat.
A tummy tuck with breast fat transfer takes this procedure one step further. Since you are already under the knife getting loose skin and fat removed, it makes sense to use the fat for breast injections.
Most tummy tuck patients want to remove skin and fat after major weight loss or pregnancy. In addition to loose belly skin, women often have sagging breasts and loss of breast volume. Severe breast sagging will require a breast lift. However, breast fat injections can increase breasts by 1-2 cup sizes. It’s popular as part of a mummy makeover surgery.
Dr Bernard Beldholm, FRACS has performed many tummy tucks with breast fat transfer. Women love seeing a flat tummy and fuller breasts. It’s remarkable what one surgery can do.
Pros of breast fat injections
Breast fat transfer, also known as breast fat grafting, is an exciting advancement in cosmetic surgery. It has incredible benefits.
Remove fat where you don’t want it, and add fat to areas you want to look more curvy
The beauty of fat transfer is it removes body fat from one area, and then it is injected into another area (in this case, the breasts) to add volume naturally. Since you are already under the knife to remove fat with liposuction, many patients want to make good use of the fat by enhancing another area, such as the breasts.
It’s suitable for women with loose breast tissue
Empty breasts are common after breastfeeding or weight loss. Many women choose to get a breast lift with implants. If you are looking for a natural alternative to implants to restore fullness during a breast lift, then breast fat transfer is a great option. Injecting breast fat works best on patients with loose breast tissue that want to increase their bust by 1 to 2 cup sizes.
Natural fat is softer than breast implants
Natural fat feels softer than breast implants. Silicone implants are made of nontoxic silicone gel that varies in softness and consistency, depending on the type of breast implants you choose. Different styles of breast implants come in a variety of textures, sizes and gel consistency. While silicone implants can feel quite natural, you can beat using real fat.
Since natural fat is softer than breast implants, it is great for patients that are concerned about whether breast implants feel natural, like real breast tissue.
It’s a 100% natural alternative to breast implants
Breast implants are safe, according to independent researchers, the FDA and the TGA. However, there are some breast implant risks and side effects that may occur. Capsular contracture, implant rupture, and hard-to-read mammograms can be a problem for a small number of patients.
Breast implant illness (BII) is a concern among some breast implant patients, including those with certain autoimmune disorders. Experts suspect their bodies overreact to any foreign entity, implants included. This could theoretically cause inflammation, pain, or tissue changes, according to the FDA.
Many patients choose smooth implants, but textured implants have been linked to anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, also known as BIA-ALCL. This form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is rare, it can be serious. It can occur in the scar tissue or fluid surrounding textured implants, both saline and silicone. Experts estimate the risk of this rare disease is approximately 1 in 86,029, to put things in perspective.
For healthy patients, most surgeons and government agencies agree that breast implants are safe. However, breast fat transfer may be even safer since it does not involve placing a foreign object in the body.
Breast fat transfer is great for mild breast asymmetry
Breast implants can correct breast asymmetry. If one breast is larger than the other by 1-2 cup sizes, an implant can add fullness to the smaller breast.
But what if your breasts are slightly asymmetrical? In this case, breast fat injections may work better.
Breast fat injections can be fine-tuned. Doctor Bernard can correct slight breast asymmetry with carefully placed injections to enhance shape and size. If you have a small difference in the size of your breasts, it is actually easier to get symmetrical breasts with fat injection than breast implants in his experience.
Breast implants only come in certain sizes and shapes. They are meant to enhance the whole breast. You can’t just add a breast implant to enhance one part of the breast and not the other. Yet fat can be injected into certain parts of the breast to improve shape and size without changing the whole breast, if needed.
It’s virtually scarless
Breast implants leave a scar that is about 4-5 cm. The scar is usually hidden in the breast crease where no one can see it. Meanwhile, breast fat transfer is virtually scarless. The scar is tiny — perhaps 2-3 mm. It is so small, Doctor Bernard does not even have to suture it closed. It will heal nicely on its own. You can hardly see the scar.
Less pain than breast implants
Breast implant surgery is more painful than fat injections. Breast implants require a 4-5 cm cut into the skin. Then, your surgeon creates a pocket for the implants. Under muscle breast implants require more dissection than above muscle implants. Placing implants under the muscle means the muscle must be cut.
All surgery has some degree of pain, but breast fat injection is a low-pain procedure. You are simply suctioning fat from one area and injecting it in the breast.
Faster recovery than breast implants
Breast implant recovery is usually quick. Most patients only need up to a week off work. However, it is normal to have a lot of swelling for weeks to months after breast augmentation. The breasts can be quite tender after implants. This usually lasts several weeks, at minimum.
Breast implant surgery involves more cutting and tissue trauma than breast fat injections. The recovery from breast fat injections is much faster.
It’s safer & more effective than injecting fillers into breasts
Can you inject hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers into the breast? Yes, it is technically possible. NASHA Macrolane, for example, was one such dermal filler for breast enhancement. This was a nonsurgical alternative to breast implants. Some parts of Europe temporarily approved it, but that ended quickly.
Known as the ’30 minute boob job’, it was taken off the market in 2012 due to safety concerns. Macrolane was never FDA approved in the US. Results only lasted a few months. It interfered with breast cancer screenings and mammograms, for one thing.
Further, HA fillers are not permanent. The hyaluronic acid dissolves over time. The results from Macrolane only lasted a few months. That clearly did not justify the expense or side effects patients incurred. Like all hyaluronic acid fillers, the body will reabsorb HA and safely eliminate it.
A recent look at RealSelf.com reveals Macrolane only had a 40% patient satisfaction rating. In comparison, breast implants have a 95% satisfaction rating; Breast fat injections have a 90% satisfaction rating.
HYAcorp Body Contouring MLF1/2 is a body filler that replaced Macrolane in 2017, but it has not been TGA approved and may have similar drawbacks to Macrolane. Like Marcolane, HYACorp uses hyaluronic acid. There is not long-term clinical safety data for hyaluronic acid fillers for nonsurgical breast augmentation in Australia.
Using real fat is better than other kinds of breast fillers, too
Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, or PLLL) and Renuva breast enhancement (synthetic fat grafting) have also been discussed on the internet for breast augmentation. Yet the vast majority of cosmetic surgeons agree that neither is useful for nonsurgical breast enhancement.
Conversely, almost every breast implant surgeon in Australia agrees that breast implants or breast fat grafting are safe and effective.
You would need a large amount of dermal filler to increase breasts by one cup size. This would be costly, especially considering injectable fillers only last a few months. In some countries, Renuva is injected in small doses to reduce breast implant rippling. To increase breast size, implants or fat injections are a better choice.
Low risk of allergy
Dermal fillers are very popular today for facial enhancements like lip filler, cheek filler, jawline sculpting and more. While dermal fillers are safe for facial enhancement and have a low allergy risk, people with extreme allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, may not tolerate HA fillers.
Using your own body fat puts the allergy risk at nearly zero percent. The fat has already been in your body with no adverse reaction. Using it for breast fat transfer is very safe in this regard.
As you can see, injecting fillers into the breast is not great for breast augmentation for many reasons. Breast implants and fat injections are the clear winners.
Breast fat transfer has permanent results
Dermal fillers don’t last, unlike a fat graft.
In breast fat grafting, the fat cells are live. We inject living tissue into your breast. When the blood vessels grow into the fat cells, it keeps the fat cells alive. Once this happens, the results are permanent.
However, you’ll lose some of the fat cells that get transferred. Not all of the fat will survive. Some fat cells die off in the first 6-12 months. Your body safely absorbs and expels the fat cells that don’t survive. The breast fat that remains at 6-12 months will be your final result. At that point, it is permanent.
Breast implants are considered permanent, but they are not lifetime devices. Unlike breast implants, fat grafting never needs a replacement.
Clothes and swimwear will fit nicely after liposuction
Using your own fat for breast injections has many benefits. Removing unwanted fat from one area not only makes clothes and swimwear fit better, it can help you achieve the body you want when diet and exercise aren’t enough. Removing stubborn pockets of fat helps patients look and feel more confident.
Liposuction is just a tool to maintain or enhance your body
There is nothing vain about wanting to improve your figure. Getting lipo is just like going to the gym, eating well or exercising in terms of maintaining your appearance. You might be surprised how many people you pass each day that have used cosmetic surgery as a tool to maintain or improve their looks.
We’ve all heard about celebrities that got liposuction and celebrities with breast implants. But many people have no idea that some friends, acquaintances, neighbors, colleagues and fellow mums picking their kids up from daycare may have had some form of cosmetic enhancement as well. It’s just not something people talk about.
Most women don’t speak publicly about having their underarms waxed, having liposuction, or getting wrinkle injections, after all. But we all do things to maintain our looks behind closed doors.
Some patients are open about it, but others prefer to keep it their ‘little secret’.
Whether you want a subtle enhancement or dramatic makeover, Dr Beldholm’s clinic is a safe and discreet place to enhance your looks. Liposuction is just a tool to enhance your looks, just like coloring your hair at the salon, or getting a facial or microdermabrasion to improve your skin.
When you add breast fat injections to the liposuction procedure, it gives you two great results at the same time.
Cons of breast fat transfer
While there are many benefits of breast fat injections, these are some limitations.
It won’t correct breast sagging
Droopy breasts are common due to age, weight loss or breastfeeding. For women with severe saggy breasts, a breast fat transfer won’t lift the breast tissue much. You may need a breast lift, a breast lift with implants or a breast lift with fat injections.
Mild sagging can sometimes be corrected with breast implants, no lift. Fat injections can also restore breast fullness by 1-2 cup sizes in some patients. Fat injections won’t provide as much lift as implants, though. Implants are made of a harder material than soft, natural fat. The firm shape of some implants will lift breasts more than fat can.
If you have empty breasts after weight loss or pregnancy, call Doctor Bernard to learn if you need a breast lift or a breast lift with implants or fat injections. Every woman is different. We customize treatment to your exact needs so you can get the youthful, perky breasts you had before pregnancy or weight loss.
It can only increase your bust 1-2 cup sizes
Breast fat injections are great for a subtle enhancement. Eligible patients can increase their breasts by 1-2 cup sizes. If you want much larger breasts, you’ll need breast implants. You can choose nearly any implant size, within reason.
If you just want to increase breasts 1-2 cup sizes, you may consider breast fat transfer.
But it isn’t the best option for patients with a flat chest…
Breast implants are better for flat-chested women
Fat injections can’t make small, tight breasts much bigger. It’s only intended to add one or two cup sizes, and it won’t work if you have tight breast skin. Flat-chested women will get better results with breast implants.
Flat-chested women may want to increase breasts by more than 1-2 cup sizes. Therefore, breast implants are needed to accomplish a big size increase.
Yet there is another reason that flat-chested women are usually not good candidates for breast fat transfer. Here is an example.
Women in their 20s with small breasts tend to have tighter skin than older women with large breasts and loose skin. That is, unless she has empty breasts after breastfeeding or major weight loss.
Injecting fat into small breasts with tight skin doesn’t work well. When the skin is too tight, there is not enough room for blood vessels to grow into the fat to keep the fat cells alive. The blood supply can’t get nutrients to the fat cells. The whole graft will die as a result. Breast size will not increase much. You can even get calcification and other problems.
For a significant increase, A-cup breasts will need two, three, four sessions of fat injections, about 3-6 months apart. That’s a lot of effort just to go up 1-2 cup sizes. You’re paying each time you come in for lipo and fat injections.
For flat-chested women with tight skin, implants are better because it provides a much bigger result in just one surgery.
It’s hard to turn an A cup into a B cup with fat injections. If you’re a C cup, then Doctor Bernard can usually get you to a D cup with no problem because the breast can keep the fat graft alive since large breasts often have looser skin.
Unlike breast implants, the size can change over time
Breast implants stay the same size. Breast fat injections will start out bigger, but then you will lose about 40-60% of the fat graft in the first 6-12 months.
The fat is live when it is injected. Remember, the blood vessels must grow into the fat in order to keep it alive. Not all of the fat cells will survive.
Your cup size at the 6-12 months mark is the end result. When the fat has survived that long, it is now alive and thriving. These are your permanent results.
One year after breast fat transfer, you should not see the breast size decrease. That is, unless you lose weight. Breast implants, on the other hand, will not change size, regardless of weight fluctuations.
Be careful about losing weight after breast fat transfer
With a breast fat transfer, the cells will continue living for the rest of your life — unless you lose weight. It’s important to maintain a stable weight after breast fat injections. You should be near your goal weight before getting the procedure. Losing weight after the surgery can undo the results. Small weight fluctuations won’t make a big difference, unless you tend to lose weight in your breasts first.
You can’t store the fat and use it later
Wouldn’t it be great if you could remove fat with liposuction, then use it to enhance your breasts or face later in life? Unfortunately, that’s not possible. You can’t save the fat and then come back a few months later for fat injections. It must be injected right after the fat is harvested.
Fat cells don’t survive long outside of the body. It’s best to inject the live fat cells within two hours of harvesting the fat.
Liposuction is not a weight-loss miracle
Removing fat with liposuction sounds appealing. But liposuction can only do so much. It’s best to reach a stable weight before getting lipo. Liposuction is meant to refine pockets of fat that you are struggling to lose with diet and exercise alone.
Liposuction is not a substitute for dieting, exercise or weight-loss surgery. You should ideally be within a few kilos of your goal weight before the procedure.
If your main goal is to increase bust size, implants are usually cheaper
For women that just want larger breasts, breast implants are less costly. Breast fat transfer is a multi-step operation, so it takes more time to do the surgery. You pay for the time your surgeon spends in the operating room.
The total operation time for breast fat transfer is about 2.5 or 3 hours. It starts with liposuction. This takes about 1 hour. Then, the fat is purified for 30 minutes. Injecting the fat takes 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Implants are a quicker procedure. With implants, Doctor Bernard dissects the breast tissue and places the implants in the breast pocket. Breast implant surgery usually takes 1 to 1.5 hours. It is a much faster process than breast fat injections.
…unless you’re getting a tummy tuck, then fat transfer cheaper
Doctor Bernard’s lipo-abdominoplasty already includes liposuction. You are only adding time washing and injecting the fat, rather than doing breast implant surgery.
Breast fat injections are more affordable as part of a combined procedure, such as a tummy tuck with lipo, inner thigh lift, or arm lift, since the fat is being removed anyway as part of another procedure.
Breast implants are better in some cases:
- You want to go up more than 1-2 cups sizes
- You have tight breast skin
- You mainly want bigger breasts, and are not so concerned with fat removal
- You are thin, without much body fat
Are you a candidate for breast fat injections?
While breast fat transfer has many benefits, it is not right for everyone. Post-weight loss and post-pregnancy women with loose breast skin are the best candidates. They get the most benefit when the fat is removed with liposuction as part of another procedure, such as a tummy tuck, arm lift, inner thigh lift, etc. This keeps costs down. You can slim one area, while enhancing the breasts naturally and safely. It is a good alternative to breast implants for some women.