I used to get asked this question all the time–meant as a joke. But the truth is, making your breasts bigger with your own fat can be a reality.
Fat injection is not a “new” procedure, and breast enlargement with autologous (your own, and no, you can’t use someone else’s) fat has been around for decades with good results, especially in Europe and Asia. I first heard about it a couple of years ago, at the Atlanta Breast Surgery Symposium. A plastic surgeon performed the procedure at a nearby hospital with satellite surveillance for the meeting attendees. It was the first time all day that I actually started paying close attention, as it was the first “new” thing in breast surgery that I’d heard anyone talk about yet. I was blown away—basically, the patient was getting the fat sucked out of her “problem areas” and injected back into her breasts! A dream come true!
The procedure just seemed like a natural addition to my liposuction practice. I researched it as much as possible—even spent two days in the operating room with Dr. Roger Khouri (one of the pioneers of the procedure in this country, as well as the creator of the BRAVA™ device) of Miami.
The first few I did on my friends, because what are friends for, right…?
Honestly, so far everyone has been thrilled. It’s truly an amazing procedure. I wish I could show before and after pics, but this is a G-rated blog.
So…What are the advantages over traditional breast implants?
1) Easier recovery
2) A two-for-one procedure
3) Virtually scarless—the fat is injected with micro-cannulas, and even in darker skinned women the incisions usually completely disappear.
4) Easier to shape, sculpt and lift the breast
5) No risk of capsular contracture, rippling, or other implant “complications.”
And the biggest advantage is of course…if you gain weight, it will go straight to your breasts, because that’s where all those resistant, angry fat cells are sitting, just waiting to get bigger. (Anyway, that’s what I like to think, and it makes sense, and that’s what’s been happening.) So, worst case scenario–even if only a very small fraction of the fat stayed, just the fact that you will automatically gain weight in your breasts is a huge bonus—at the very least, as one of my patients said the other day, “It’s like a time-release breast aug!”
So what are the disadvantages?
1) You cannot guarantee the volume of fat that will stay—usually about 50—70% of what you put in.
2) The most you can probably increase with one procedure is about half a cup size to maybe a cup size, so if you want to go from an “A” to a “C,” this is not the procedure for you.
3) There are reports of interference with mammogram readings, however I have several patients who have had their one-year post-op mammogram and they are totally clear. I send all of my patients to my favorite radiologists in town, Lebovic, Schwimer and Goldberg, and they are very supportive of the procedure.
4) The BRAVA™ device (optionally worn before and after the procedure) does improve results, but it’s not practical unless you are at home during the day, because it looks like an enormous Madonna Bra and you can’t wear it out of the house.
So who is the best candidate for autologous breast augmentation?
Assuming you have the fat to spare…
1) If you’ve always wanted your breasts a little bit bigger but never wanted implants…
2) If you’ve had children and feel like your breasts have deflated and you just want to fill them back up again…
3) If you don’t necessarily want to be much bigger but you want to be “fuller” …
…then this could be the procedure for you. And if you’re already scheduled for a lipo, ask your doctor about it. No reason to throw that good fat away! I would totally get it done tomorrow if I hadn’t already had all the fat sucked out of my thighs ten years ago when I was a resident at UCSD by my wonderful mentor, Dr. Anne Wallace.
This is one of my favorite subjects and I welcome any questions!!!!
I have had a lot of requests for Brava Before and After Pictures, so I found some G-rated ones for you :