This is one of the common questions asked by women who would like to enhance the size and shape of their breasts but have yet to decide which one to go for, breast fat transfer or implants.
In this blog piece, MCAN Health aims to give information on both for you to make an informed choice if you are torn between two choices. As we always do, we will start with the basics!
Since breast augmentation with implants is the most popular plastic surgery treatment globally; the term “breast augmentation” usually refers to breast augmentation with implants and is used interchangeably with breast implants. However, breast augmentation is any procedure aiming to increase the size and shape of the breasts. There are two ways to do that, either with implants or fat transfer.
What Is Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation?
Also known as fat grafting breast augmentation or lipoaugmentation or autologous fat transfer, breast augmentation with fat transfer is a surgical procedure aiming to increase the volume of the breasts by using fat grafting techniques.
In fat grafting breast reconstruction, your own fat is used to improve the size of the breasts. Excess and unwanted fat on different parts of the body is extracted by liposuction and grafted into the breasts.
Fat transfer to boobs is performed under general anaesthesia and depending on the volume of fat, takes between 1 to 3 hours. Although changing from one patient to another, the recovery time usually takes around 1 to 3 weeks.
How Long Does Fat Transfer to Breast Last?
It is important to know that in none of the fat grafting techniques, the fat survival rate is not 100%. Meaning that not all fat injected into your breasts will survive. By acknowledging that the survival rates may change depending on the patient and post-op care, experienced plastic surgeons suggest that around 40-50% of implanted fat usually survives in fat transfer to the breasts.
Survived fat 6 months after the surgery may be permanent as long as you maintain your weight. However, it is also known that in some circumstances, fat may be absorbed through time.
Pros and Cons of Fat Transfer to Breast
Let’s start with the advantages of fat transfer to breasts:
- natural: as it uses your fat that is extracted from different parts of your body
- smaller incisions: for fat transfer, small incisions are made – so scarring will be very minimal
- relatively low complication risks: if performed by an experienced and qualified surgeon
If we look at the disadvantages of fat transfer to breasts:
- limited size improvement: fat transfer only offers one cup size increase in breast size
- no positive effect on breast lift: fat transfer does not help in lifting saggy breasts
- unpredictable results: because not all implanted will survive, fat transfer cannot offer predictable results. Also, fat survived in one breast might be different than in the other breast which may result in uneven-looking breasts
- injected fat may be absorbed by the body in time which may require an additional fat transfer surgery
- fat injection may interfere with breast screening examinations which may require additional screening. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “breast fat injection causes confusion on mammograms”
Who is the Right Candidate for Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation?
You would be a good candidate for breast augmentation with a fat transfer if you:
- are generally healthy to undergo surgery
- have some excess fat on your body. If you do not have any excess fat; then it is not possible for you to have a fat transfer.
- want to increase your breast size by no more than one cup size
- do not want to have implants
- do not have or are not bothered about saggy breasts
What Is Breast Augmentation with Implants?
Also known as breast enlargement or breast implants, breast augmentation with implants is a surgical procedure aiming to increase the volume and shape of the breasts by using implants. Depending on your desired breast look, teardrop or round shape implants can be used that can be saline or silicone.
The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and takes between 1 to 3 hours. Although it may change from one patient to another, the recovery time usually takes around 1 to 3 weeks.
Breast Implants; How Long Do They Last
You cannot keep your implants forever. But breast implants offer a long-lasting solution. The average time for implant replacement is 10 to 20 years for most patients.
Pros and Cons of Breast Implants
For this one, let’s start with the disadvantages:
- replacing the implants; although offering a long-term solution after 10 to 20 years, you may need to replace your implants
- scarring: there will be some scarring due to the incisions
- the risk of rupturing implants: although it is very rare and does not really happen with good quality implants
What about the advantages?
- improved breast size: depending on the composition of your breast tissue and your surgeon’s advice, you can go “as big as” you want
- improved breast shape: implants not only improve the size but also the shape. Thanks to the round-shape implants you can achieve fullness on the top of your breasts; if you do not want fullness on top, you can go for teardrop shape implants
- predictable results: the size and shape of the implants will not change after the surgery, so the results will meet your expectations as long as you have a qualified surgeon
- you may not need breast lift: if you don’t have much excess skin, your breast implants will also have some lifting effect on your breasts.
- affordable price: compared to fat transfer, breast augmentation with implants is more affordable. Since the fat transfer to breasts also involves liposuction, the cost of the surgery is more expensive than breast implant surgery
Who is the Right Candidate for Breast Augmentation with Implants?
You would be a good candidate for breast implants if you are in good health and want to improve the size and shape of your breasts.
Breast Implants vs Fat Transfer: Which One Would Be the Best for Me?
If you are still not sure, we would recommend you a consultation with a plastic surgeon. You can do so with MCAN Health free of charge. Get Free Consultation with Safety focused treatment, experienced surgeons, an artistic approach and affordable prices!