There are many ways to augment or enlarge the breasts. By far the most common way is to place silicone or saline breast implants (breast implantation, breast augmentation.) However, fat can be transferred from other areas, such as the waist or abdomen, to the breasts for breast enlargement or breast augmentation.
Since fat is the patient’s own “natural” tissue, fat transfer to the breast has been termed “Natural Breast Augmentation,” or “Natural Breast Implantation.” To fully understand the difference between breast implantation with silicone breast implants and breast augmentation with fat transfer to the breasts, it is important to read the section on breast augmentation (breast implantation.)
The breasts can be enlarged using a patient’s fat. The breasts consist mainly of fat and mammary glands. By enlarging a breast with fat, the breasts become larger with the same tissue that they are made of, hence the term “Natural Breast Augmentation.” The breasts will look and feel very natural. The other advantage of using fat, it that the areas from which the fat was harvested will be improved.*
Usually we harvest the fat from the waist and abdomen, but we can use anywhere where the patient chooses as long as there is enough fat. The patient gets improvement in each area from which we harvest the fat, usually a narrower abdomen and waist, and larger breasts. Multiple areas are improved with this surgery.* A major advantage of fat transfer is that the overall figure, not just the breasts, are improved. Another advantage is that is takes only 2 tiny little poke holes to inject the fat, so there are no scars.* Breast augmentation with implants always requires and incision which leaves a small scar.*
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As the fat is transferred to the breasts, the skin of the breasts fills up similar to a balloon that is inflating. At some point the skin will be completely tight and cannot hold any more fat. At this point no more fat can be injected. Not all of the fat lives. Usually only 30% to 60%, of the transferred fat will live, and so the breasts will shrink back a little.
Because of this, fat transfer works best in women who have been pregnant because their skin was stretched out from the pregnancy and their skin envelope can hold more fat. As a general rule of thumb, fat transfer to the breast can only enlarge the breast one cup size. Therefore fat transfer will not work well in a patient with A-cup sized breasts who has never had a child and wants anything more than a small B cup.
For the patient who wants more than one cup size enlargement, silicone or saline breast implants (breast implantation,) are a much better option. Another major disadvantage of “natural breast augmentation,” is that the patient must have some fat to transfer. Obviously fat transfer will not work in a very skinny patient with no fat to transfer to her breasts.
Unfortunately fat transfer to the breasts costs more than routine breast augmentation, but more than one area is improved. Natural breast augmentation improves more than just the breast it improves the entire figure.*
Fat transfer surgery takes much longer than routine breast implant surgery. This is because the fat must be harvested with liposuction, spun down and purified, and then injected into the breasts. Usually this takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. Breast implant surgery usually takes only about 45 minutes to an hour.* Because it takes longer to perform natural breast augmentation, it costs more. However, the areas from which the fat is harvested are improved.
So this means not only do the breasts look better, but other areas get better as well.* Though the cost is more, actually it is more economical to have natural breast augmentation because it improves more areas.* For example if the fat is harvested from the waist, and abdomen, both of those areas will be liposuctioned and look much better.*