Silicone and saline breast implants have long dominated the field of breast augmentation surgery. However, recent advances in autologous fat grating indicate that this procedure may soon rival implants, with ongoing research into different methods of using a patient’s own tissues to provide larger breasts. According to a new study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the use of autologous fat grafting alongside a bra-like tissue expansion device has proven to be a safe and effective alternative to implants.
Autologous Fat Transfer: How Does It Work?
- uses the patient’s own tissues rather than an implant
- fat is extracted from the tummy, buttocks, or another part of the body where there may be unwanted fat
- the fat is injected into the patient’s breast, typically with about a dozen injection sites
- the patient’s body reintegrates the fat and the breast is left with a newly enlarged appearance
Pros and Cons of Autologous Fat Transfer
- fat deposits can be long-lasting and don’t require later removal for revision surgery
natural look and feel
- body tends to absorb much of the fat
- risk that the transplanted tissue will not survive the procedure
This study examined 81 women who underwent autologous fat injections after several weeks of using a bra-like, vacuum-based, external tissue expander. This device works by stretching the breast tissues and preparing them to expand. The fat was injected into the breasts at 10–14 needle puncture sites. The results indicated that the tissue expansion device improved the surgical results with:
- larger breast augmentations
- more fat graft placement
- higher graft survival rates
- minimal graft necrosis or complications
- 16% incidence of fat necrosis after a year
While the researchers caution that more research into the technique is needed, they conclude that autologous fat grafting is a safe and highly effective alternative to implants for breast augmentation.