Fat transfer to the breasts is an ideal procedure for those who want a mild, more natural improvement in the breast size, but do not want a breast implant. Transfer of fat from the other areas of the body to the breasts adds a secondary benefit of removing unwanted, excess fat from the trouble areas such as the abdomen, legs and arms.
Patients often have questions such as: What is fat transfer? What is the fat transfer recovery time? Is fat transfer to the breast safe? How long will a fat transfer last? Or, can I have a fat transfer and full liposuction at the same time?
What is fat transfer or fat grafting for breast augmentation?
Fat transfer is a common cosmetic surgery procedure to add mild to moderate volume and size to the breasts. We remove fat with liposuction from any body part with fatty deposits such as the abdomen, legs and arms, and it is prepared as a fillers and then transferred with special cannulas to the areas of the breast we want to enhance. The procedure is performed under local or general anesthesia. For patients desiring a larger breast change, breast augmentation surgery with implants is suggested.
Breast fat transfer surgery is done on an outpatient basis.
How is a fat transfer surgery performed?
Fat transfer surgery is performed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia depending on the patient preference and clinical evaluation. A fat removal location site is chosen from the patient’s abdomen, legs, arms or buttocks. We start with a small incision in a hidden or inconspicuous area and use liposuction to extract the fat. Once purified and prepared, the fat is ready to be transferred into the breasts with very small incisions made in hidden areas such as the edge of the areola or in the breast folds. We use special cannulas to deposit the fat into the breasts superficially, avoiding bolus of fat and irregularities.
Would I be able to combine a fat transfer with a larger liposuction?
It is common to perform a large liposuction and use the fat removed as the patient’s own filler to enhance the breasts, the face and the buttocks. Fat transfer to the breast can also be performed at the same time as other procedures of the breast and body such as liposuction, an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), or a breast lift. A fat transfer breast augmentation works well for patients who would rather use their own body’s natural fat resource over silicone implants. It’s also a great way to remove unwanted fat from the abdomen, legs and arms.
Many patients are great candidates for a breast fat transfer, and it is important to discuss the procedure and the options we offer.
Do I need to be sedated during the fat transfer?
Many times, the procedure can be performed under a local anesthesia, with or without sedation, but more often we perform these surgeries under general anesthesia. These options are discussed with the patient once the type of procedure is decided on.
Is fat transfer to the breast safe?
Yes, for most patients the fat transfer surgery is very safe. There are very small incisions made (basically, a scarless breast augmentation) and the procedure can be performed with a local anesthesia. The fat is placed superficially in the breasts and not inside the breast tissue. The fat is also finely layered throughout the breast surface to avoid cysts and palpable lumps in the breasts (fat necrosis).
How long does fat transfer last?
The fat transferred to the breasts is permanent. Part of the fat transferred in the procedure does not last, but on average 50% of the fat transferred lasts forever.
Will there be swelling after fat transfer surgery?
Yes, there will be some bruising and visible swelling after the surgery for about 2-3 weeks.
What is breast fat transfer recovery time?
The average downtime is about 2 weeks after the procedure. Most patients feel really well after about 2 weeks and can return to their normal activities in 1-2 weeks with little to no discomfort. Depending on the extent of procedure, some patients have more swelling or bruising than others.
Am I a good candidate for fat transfer?
If you are in good health and want to have a mild to moderate increase to your breast size, you may be a good candidate for a fat transfer to the breasts.
How can I get started to learn more?
If you think you are interested in having fat transferred to your breasts, it would be my pleasure to see you in the office for an in-person consultation. We can talk about what you want to achieve, go over the specific areas you are looking to improve and, I will answer any questions you have.
Plastic surgery through a woman’s eye
Dr. Gabriele Miotto, Atlanta plastic surgeon known for her beautiful, natural results and high patient satisfaction.
Surgery and Recovery Information
After the fat transfer procedure
Fat transfer is an outpatient surgery done under general or local anesthesia.
Fat transfer is not a painful procedure, but mild discomfort and feeling of tightness due to swelling is expected for a few days to a few weeks after surgery. However, it can be treated with preoperative and postoperative medication and supplementation, ice and anti-inflammatories. We are all different, so it is hard to predict who will get more or less swelling and bruising.
General preoperative recommendations for fat transfer to the breasts:
What to avoid before surgery:
- DO NOT take any aspirin for 7-10 days before your scheduled procedure. Do not take NSAIDS (Aleve, Motrin, Ibuprofen) for 5 days before surgery. You may take Tylenol (Acetaminophen) if needed for aches or pains. Please contact the office at if you have any questions about any medications that you are taking or if you are prescribed aspirin by your cardiologist or Primary Care Provider (PCP).
- Discontinue Vitamin E 10 days before surgery.
- Avoid the following herbal supplements for 10 days before surgery: Echinacea, Ephedra / Phentermine (used for weight loss), Feverfew, Fish Oils, Garlic, Ginkgo Biloba, Goldenseal, Kava-Kava, Licorice, Saw Palmetto, St. John’s Wort and Valerian.
- Stop Smoking. The harmful effects of smoking can cause tissue death, infection, and open wounds. It also makes you age faster!
- Alcohol can promote swelling of the surgical area and it is best to avoid alcohol intake for at least one week before surgery.
What to take before surgery:
- Dr Miotto will prescribe some supplements and medications to help your body heal and to speed up recovery when you come for your preoperative visit.
General postoperative recommendations after fat transfer to the breasts:
- You MUST have a responsible adult to transport you home and stay with you for a full twenty-four hours after your surgery if you had general anesthesia
- You will be unable to drive if you are taking narcotics.
- It is common to feel sluggish for a few days as the anesthesia works its way out of your system.
- Your initial post-operative appointment will be scheduled by your Patient Care Coordinator.
- Please refrain from physical activity that will increase your heart rate or blood pressure for 2 weeks after surgery. However, bed rest is NOT recommended, and you should be walking at normal pace after the procedure.
- Frequent walking will decrease the risk of post-operative blood clots after a long surgery (mostly after general anesthesia).
- You can shower twenty-four hours after surgery. You may clean the incisions as instructed by Dr Miotto or her nurses after the procedure.
- Do not submerge yourself into a tub/pool until all wounds have healed (usually in 3 weeks).
- Do not scrub the surgical sites, however you can allow soapy water to run over them.
- Avoid lotions on the surgical sites for 2 weeks, but you can moisturize any other areas as desired.
Returning to Work:
- Recovery time will vary; however, most patients return to work within one to 2 weeks after the procedure, within one week you will have a feel for your specific limitations and will be able to determine how comfortable you will be with resuming your daily activities and workload.
- Immediately following surgery, it is best to eat bland, easily-digested food and avoid excess sugar and salt. Healthy proteins (eggs, lean meat, beans, nuts), rice, fruits and cooked vegetables (broccoli, peppers, sweet potatoes) will provide your body with nutrients essential for healing.
- Eat a few bites of food before taking pain medications as these can cause nausea.
- A diet low in sodium will help minimize swelling and water retention.
- Drink plenty of water! Drinking low sugar sports drinks and protein shakes are recommended.
- Keep in mind that our goal in aesthetic surgery is improvement and not perfection. You will be followed closely after surgery to assure that you heal well and have the best possible results.
- It can take months for the very final results of your surgery be apparent. After 12 weeks, you can expect your results to be mostly permanent. Expect subtle changes in swelling and healing (including the appearance of scarring) to continue to appear for up to twelve months.
- It is important for you to keep open communication with your physician and return for your follow up visits. We will take pre and post pictures along the way and look at the final results together.
GABRIELE C. MIOTTO MD, MEd., is a Brazillian-American plastic surgeon specialized in aesthetic surgery and minimally invasive procedures, specially of the face, eyes, breast and liposuction.[testimonials category=”fat-transfer-breast” orderby=”menu_order” order=”ASC” style=”” hide_photos=”1″]