With nearly 300,000 procedures performed in 2014 alone, breast augmentation remains the single most popular form of plastic surgery in the United States. While some initial safety concerns arose more than twenty years ago, several large epidemiological studies have confirmed that there is no definitive causal link between artificial silicone breast implants and various long term health risks. However, even though the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) officially re-approved the use of silicone breast implants, some women who might otherwise be interested in breast augmentation are still uncomfortable with the idea of incorporating any artificial material into their bodies. For these women, fat transfer techniques may provide a highly-effective alternative to traditional breast implants.
Fat transfer has long been used in a variety of plastic surgery procedures, ranging from minor facial rejuvenation to the Brazilian Butt Lift. A small portion of the patient’s own fat is first removed from the elsewhere in the patient’s body, such as the thighs or abdomen, using any of the various liposuction techniques. This fat can then be processed and purified into a liquid form that can be injected directly into specific areas of the body, naturally increasing volume and projection. Many plastic surgeons already use this technique to improve the results of traditional breast augmentation and breast reconstruction procedures, injecting fat between the breast bone and the implant edges to “soften” the transition zone. Additionally, a survey published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), even determined that breast augmentation procedures performed in conjunction with this fat transfer technique reduce the intermammary distance and consistently provide more attractive and natural-looking results.
Recent advances in technology have also made it possible to achieve significant changes in the size of the breasts through the use of fat transfer alone. Previously, the limited space available in the breast made injecting large volumes of fat impractical, as excessive pressure could impair blood flow and endanger the survival of the transferred fat cells. However, new “pre-expansion” techniques can provide extra room in the breast, along with a “fibrovascular scaffold” that the transplanted fat cells can occupy, potentially tripling the volume of fat that can be transferred. Many of the patients who opt for fat transfer techniques do so because they are less invasive than traditional breast augmentation with implants, and because the fat cells that come from the patient’s own body pose no risk of triggering allergic reaction.
Every patient is unique, and while fat transfer techniques may be extremely effective for some, they are not suitable for every patient. In order to determine what specific plastic surgery procedures can best achieve your individual goals, contact Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. at one of our Atlanta, Alpharetta, Cumming, or Newnan offices to schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news.