Surgeries

Fat Transfer in Breast Augmentation

We have all heard the horror stories associated with using silicone implants in breast augmentation. Newer techniques involve the use of saline implants, but while it is considered safer, the same problems of breast pain, infection and the possibility of a rupture are still there, resulting in unseemly changes in breast contour and necessary surgery to remove the implants. The notion of fat transfer in breast augmentation seems to be the best possible solution to this esthetic and medical dilemma.

Fat transfer is not a new concept in soft tissue repair. The technique of using a person’s own abdominal fat to improve the shape or contour of the face has been around since as far back as 1893. However, modern fat transfer techniques for facial reconstruction were developed only in the 1980s with the rise of the popularity of liposuction.

Using aspirated fat refined by centrifuge to injection-quality fat (autologous adipocyte fat) as a filler for the face was just the first step to reusing the by-products of liposuction. As a breast filler, there was considerable resistance from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) when it was first proposed in the early 1980s because it was untested, and it was difficult to distinguish between fat nodules and cysts in a radiograph. Improved technology, however, has put sped to these concerns, and the ASPS finally lifted the ban in mid-2012. Women could now opt to go for the more natural way in increasing their breast size without having to worry about undergoing major surgery or future complications such as leaks, ruptures and infections.

Moreover, plastic surgeons now require fat transfer candidates to undergo a 6-week pre-expansion regimen using a special suction bra that would gently pull on the breast with vacuum pressure, gradually increasing the internal space available for the filler. At the same time, the vacuum pressure encourages the development of a fibrovascular scaffold that serves as a framework for the injected fillers.

The method is relatively new, and not all patients fit the profile for it. But for good candidates, it is the ideal workaround for breast cancer survivors and other patients who prefer a less invasive procedure, and a softer, more natural-looking pair.

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