Fat Transfer to the Breast

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Dr. Karen Leong | 02/23/2021

In Newport Beach, CA fat transfer procedures have been gaining in popularity over the past 10 to 15 years. Originally fat grafting, means you take fat from one part of the body and inject it into a different part of the body. Originally used to study burn victims as well as facial abnormalities and what they noticed was that grafting these free fat cells into parts of the body would improve the quality of the skin and also showed improvement to scar. Later on, the study noted that radiation changes from cancer patients also improved with fat grafting, there are hypotheses that stem cells and growth factors play a large role in the effects that fat has on the tissue that is injected. So where does that leave us when it comes to breasts?

Fat transfer to the breast has become almost a standard of care for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. There’s been a number of studies looking at all these different modalities and still no general consensus which basically means there’s no one method better than others when it comes to cosmetic fat grafting. I’m sure you’ve all seen or heard Brazilian butt lifts where you transfer the fat into the buttocks to increase the size, and improve the shape. Transfer to the breast has become more prominent and more popular!

The nice thing about fat to the breast is you don’t have to worry about the complications associated with fat transfer to the buttocks. Because the breast tissue that you’re injecting it into is fat and glandular tissue, it doesn’t have any of those large veins or arteries that can actually be injured during the process. 

I tell my patients that fat transfer to the breast should be a subtle improvement. It’s not a large volume operation like in the buttocks we just can’t expect it to take, to feel natural. The problem is when you try to inject into their breasts is a higher chance of oil cyst formation and fat necrosis, meaning that the fat pocket could actually die and turn into a chunky fluid.

The ideal candidate is someone looking for realistic expectations, a small volume increase – usually no more than a cup, or someone who has a symmetry issue that they would like corrected. During the consultation, we take measurements and then we talk about your expectations. If you are a good candidate for the transfer portion we still have to make sure that there’s enough fat that can be harvested. If the goal is to increase one cup size then I need to take double that amount so that once we take into consideration the processing and the absorption by the body you will still have enough to increase one size. Again I never promise the final result, as everyone’s body is different in their healing process. Since everyone is different there’s a chance that you may resorb more fat than another person who has a similar procedure.

If reading this article you find that this is a procedure that interests you, or you think you might be a candidate for a fat transfer, please do give my office a call, send us a DM through Instagram, or fill out the contact form on this webpage. Hope to see you soon!

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