Breast Enlargement with Implants vs. Fat Transfer—Which is Right for You?
Breast augmentation surgery is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures among women. For decades, surgeons have relied on saline or silicone implants for breast augmentation surgery. However, since 2009, more and more surgeons have been using fat transfer to enlarge and reshape women’s breasts.
So which technique is better—implants or fat transfer? The answer isn’t quite so straightforward. We wanted to explain what each surgery entails as well as the pros and cons of each method.
How Is Breast Augmentation by Fat Transfer Performed?
During the fat transfer procedure, your surgeon will make small incisions to harvest fat from certain areas of your body—usually the thighs, hips, or stomach. The fat will be removed through liposuction or with a needle and syringe. Next, the harvested fat will go through a centrifugation process to remove unwanted material like blood, water, and oil. Then the fat is carefully reinjected into your breasts.
What are the Benefits of Fat Transfer?
- There’s no chance of allergic reaction to your own body tissue.
- You’ll be getting two procedures in one—a liposuction and a breast enlargement.
- The results look and feel natural.
- You’ll have minimal scarring because only small incisions are required.
- Fat transfer is most effective for small- to moderate-sized breast augmentations.
What are the Drawbacks of Fat Transfer?
First and foremost, it’s important to know that the question of whether or not fat transfer can increase your risk of breast cancer is still open to debate. There have been no definitive studies to put that question to rest. That’s why the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) does not endorse the use of fat transfer in cosmetic breast augmentation.
There are other disadvantages as well:
- It won’t increase your breasts by more than one cup size.
- The surgery may interfere with mammography results.
- Your body may reabsorb the fat, which will cause the breasts to shrink over time.
- It’s unpredictable what shape the breasts will take. Breast symmetry isn’t guaranteed.
- Fat transfer breast augmentation can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.
How is Breast Augmentation with Implants Performed?
Breast augmentation with implants is a safe procedure, with over 300,000 surgeries performed each year. Today’s breast implants are made of a silicone outer shell that is filled with saline, silicone gel, or highly cohesive silicone gel.
During the surgery, your surgeon makes an incision in the bottom crease of the breast, in the armpit, or along the lower edge of the areola. The surgeon carefully inserts the implant under the breast tissue or under the chest muscle beneath the breast. Then the incision is stitched closed.
What Are the Benefits of Implants?
- Implants are proven to be safe and effective.
- Today’s implants offer more natural-looking and natural-feeling results than ever before.
- You have control over how big you want your breasts to be.
- Unlike with fat transfer, your breasts will not lose size or shape over time.
What Are the Drawbacks of Implants?
- On rare occasion patients have an allergic reaction to implants.
- Sometimes, scar tissue around the implant hardens and begins to squeeze the implant. This is called capsular contracture and will require additional surgery.
- There can be loss of feeling in the nipples, which may be temporary or permanent.
- Over time, the implant may harden, shift, or become misshapen.
- Implants will interfere with mammography results.
- There will be scarring, but usually in inconspicuous areas.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Ultimately, there are too many unknowns about fat transfer for it to be the “go-to” breast-enhancement method. Implants provide safe, consistent, and attractive results for thousands of women each year. If you are unhappy with your breasts, then talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon, like Dr. Fodero, to learn what procedure is best for you.
Northeastern Plastic Surgery understands your desire for a beautiful, youthful looking body and facial appearance. We use the latest plastic surgery techniques to perform a variety of surgical procedures. Dr. Fodero and the staff are very friendly, helpful, and available to answer any questions you may have about the procedures we offer. We strive to ensure that your experience with us is positive. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.