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Fat Transfer to the Breasts – a new disruptive technology

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Every once in a while new technology comes along that is truly disruptive. Fat transfer to the breast is a good example. Commonly known as autologous fat transfer, the procedure involves harvesting fat from one part of the body and, following preparation, grafting it into the breast in a strategic way, to fill areas such as the cleavage and the upper pole, to give the best more projection and to slightly lift the breast.

It is indeed fortunate that this new disruptive technology has come along at a time when the safety of silicone breast implants is being seriously questioned. Not only have textured implants been abandoned because of their link to anaplastic large cell lymphoma but all silicone gel filled implants have come into question due to the recognition of a condition known as breast implant illness. Many women with silicone gel filled in implants report symptoms such as foggy thinking, fatigue, weight gain and muscle aches. Remarkably, when their implants are removed, 86% of these women make a complete recovery.

One day we will look back and wonder how was it possible that surgeons were allowed to place up to a letter or more of liquid silicone gel into a woman’s breasts. Although both men and women have for centuries adorned themselves with piercings, pigments and tattoos placing half a litre of liquid silicone into the breasts is by any standard extreme!

Unfortunately these large implants have direct pressure effects on the chest wall and the breast tissue and so most of these women require not just removal of their implants but also a breast reconstruction. Given that it is no longer best practice to insert new silicone gel implants, it is indeed fortunate that autologous fat transfer has become available in some centres. Autologous fat transfer can often be used on its own following breast implant removal or fat can be used together with a breast lift which acts as an auto augmentation. If an implant is required then a smooth walled saline filled implant of minimal volume placed under the muscle is most appropriate, as these implants have an unblemished safety record going back more than 30 years.

Learn more about this procedure.

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