Breast augmentation without the use of any breast implants—is it really possible? For some women who’ve wanted to enhance the size of their breasts, this has long been the dream. And while many happy patients are totally satisfied with the natural look and feel of their breast implants, some women are simply more interested in a result that is 100% natural and made of their own tissue.
Well, thanks to the advances we’ve seen in fat grafting techniques and technology over the past few years, breast augmentation using your own fat has become a very viable option. There are of course pros and cons to consider, and depending on the look you want to achieve, it may not be able to deliver the result you want.
So let’s break down some of the upsides and downsides you’ll want to consider if this surgery is of interest to you.
How Fat Transfer Works
If you’re familiar with what goes into a Brazilian Butt Lift, then you might have some idea of how the fat grafting process works. In a nutshell: your surgeon harvests fat from one unwanted area of your body and carefully injects it into the area you’d like to enhance.
This means that the first step in the operation is liposuction. Your surgeon will remove fat from unwanted areas, like the tummy, love handles, or thighs (or a combo of desired areas). This fat then must be carefully processed and prepared to be re-injected into your body.
The step that follows is a combination of art and science. Your surgeon will very carefully inject the fat into your breast tissue, making sure that it’s placed correctly to allow as many fat cells as possible to remain viable, while also creating a beautiful and natural-looking shape. It’s a more subtle look than what can be achieved with an implant, but there’s also less scarring.
Your result ends up meeting two different goals. It creates a more sculpted and contoured silhouette around your waist and thighs, while boosting the size and shape of your breasts.
Fat Transfer Pros and Cons for Breast Augmentation
Take a moment to picture the overall look and feel you want breast augmentation to give you and keep that image in mind as you run down this list.
Using your own tissue means your body is already familiar with it, lowering the risks of some complications associated with breast augmentation (no risk of capsular contracture, for instance)
Small incisions—we’re talking under 4mm—leads to very minimal scarring
Added benefits of body contouring if you’re looking to sculpt other areas of your body
Typically a faster and more comfortable initial recovery than with breast implants, though swelling will likely persist in the weeks that follow and you may experience bruising from the liposuction
For those who are very adamant about not wanting to use an implant, it’s a great option; breast augmentation with fat transfer is sometimes referred to as “natural breast augmentation”
There are limitations on the volume we can achieve, probably to a maximum of about one full cup size, and it will require you to have enough excess fat for liposuction; if you want a more dramatic result or are naturally very lean, this may not be your best option
Because of the addition of liposuction, and because of what is required to prepare the fat for injection, the overall cost tends to be higher than breast augmentation with implants
Fat survival can be unpredictable, though typically about 50-70% of cells can be expected to survive
If fat survival is inconsistent, it can has the potential to result in asymmetry (though not significantly due to the modest overall enhancement)
If you have additional concerns like sagging, fat transfer alone will not solve them, although you could incorporate a breast lift with your procedure as with any kind of breast augmentation operation
If you’re looking for a modest breast enhancement, virtually no scarring, and additional body contouring, then this could be a really great procedure for you. If you want a more dramatic result for your breasts that still looks really natural, we would probably recommend the use of implants. And if you’re looking for significant enhancement and you especially want great cleavage, sometimes combining both of these procedures can work wonders, especially if you’re naturally very lean and your breast tissue has less fat to begin with.
There’s no one-size-fits all solution that works for everyone, so that’s why we invite you to come see us for a free consultation where we can talk to you in person about your goals and about what would work best for your body. If you’d like to connect with us, you can fill out the request for information form below, or you can get in touch with us by phone or email.