Breast lipomodeling (Fat graft/fat transfer) is a form of breast augmentation surgery whereby fat is transferred from another area of a patient’s body to the breasts, to alter their size and shape.
It is an ideal option for patients who do not want breast implants but would like to alter their breast volume and who also have some areas of their bodies where there is excess fat that is difficult to remove with diet and exercise alone. Some patient’s intention may be to enhance the size and shape of their breasts by only small volume. Breast lipomodeling is a highly customisable procedure designed with the patient’s own objectives in mind.
Breast lipomodeling is a valuable tool in the correction of congenital breast deformity (tuberous or constricted breasts) and breast asymmetry and provides a natural, lasting alternative to breast implants. This type of reconstructive breast surgery requires advanced fat grafting techniques, which Dr Taylor travelled overseas to learn from a world-leading fat grafting surgeon.
Breast reconstruction patients and patients who have undergone previous breast cancer surgery, including breast-conserving surgery, lumpectomy and mastectomy, are also great candidates for breast lipomodeling. Fat transfer can be highly effective in treating patients who have changes to their breast skin, shape and volume following radiotherapy treatment due to the components of fat cells, growth factors and stem cells, which can help to repair damaged and irradiated tissue.
This procedure also has the added benefit of eliminating excess fat from areas around the body, such as the abdomen, flanks, thighs, arms, and buttocks. Breast lipomodeling procedures cause minimal scarring and have minimal downtime whilst avoiding the complications usually associated with breast implants, such as rupture or capsular contracture. In some cases, patients may combine breast implant augmentation with fat grafting to soften the appearance of breast implants for a more natural look. This can be a great option depending on your personal goals or if you have little body fat to use for a full-fat transfer.
A pre-operative consultation is required with Plastic Surgeon Dr Alaina Taylor to determine if a breast lipomodeling procedure is an appropriate choice for you. During your consult, you’ll discuss your medical history, including any pre-existing conditions you may have or previous breast procedures. Dr Taylor will listen to your concerns and desired outcomes of a breast lipomodeling procedure. Photographs will be taken but remain strictly confidential as part of your medical record. While we understand that deciding to undergo surgery may be a deeply personal topic for some patients, the information you provide during your consultation with Dr Taylor is crucial in determining what treatment plan is best suited to your health and anticipated outcomes.
Breast lipomodeling surgery is performed under local or general anaesthetic as a day procedure unless combined with other procedures which may require a hospital stay. Fat is harvested (removed) from areas where it is more abundant, known as the donor site, using liposuction. Small incisions are made, and a fine cannula is inserted via which the fat is removed. The aspirate is then prepared according to Dr Taylor’s preferred protocol to separate out any excess fluids from the tissues. The prepared fat is then carefully distributed to the breast via strategically placed incisions with fine cannulas. Dr Taylor will sculpt the breast with the fat until the desired outcome is achieved. Dr Taylor takes special care at each step in the process to ensure the transferred fat is of the highest quality and to achieve optimal survival or “take” of the grafted fat. This technique is very effective only in well-trained hands. Some additional body contouring is often performed with liposuction at the same time. Once completed, incisions are closed with sutures, and dressings are applied.
It is normal to experience bruising, swelling, and some pain following surgery. You will be fitted with compression garments as required to help reduce the swelling and bruising of the donor sites, and pain medication can be prescribed to lessen your discomfort. Strenuous activity should be avoided for the next four to six weeks, but you should be able to return to work after one week of downtime. Even though recovery time can be less than traditional breast implant surgeries, it is still vitally important that you follow Dr Taylor’s post-operative instructions to ensure minimal scarring occurs where possible and optimal results are achieved.
Risks and Complications
There is always the possibility of risks or complications arising with any procedure you decide to undergo. The following complications can occur:
- Oil cysts
- Excessive bleeding and fluid accumulation
- Changes to skin and breast sensation
- Loss of fat cells
- Contour irregularities
- Fat necrosis and fat embolism