Fat Harvest/Transfer to Breasts

Autologous fat (transferring one’s own fat) is today’s number one filling agent to create more volume in the breast area after implants. You may not wish to use implants, and this is a suitable alternative using your own fat, dubbed the ‘organic breast augmentation’.

Our surgeons have extensive experience in high volume fat grating procedures. Fat is essentially harvested from other areas of the body typically the abdomen, flanks, or thighs and then reinjected into the desired area, in this case, the breast area. The fat is then clinically prepared for injection into the breast area to create more profile, volume and proportionately shaped contours.

Since it is the patient’s own fat there is no risk of rejection and no possibility of an allergic reaction. This procedure is mainly used to produce a more youthful look and for recontouring of the face, hands and other body contours. It is also advised that patients should stop smoking as this reduces the chance of fat retention.


The Fat Harvest to Breast procedure is performed in our Harley Street clinic.


The fat harvest and injection are carried out under intravenous sedation so there will be no pain and you will sleep through the operation.


The fat harvest and injection to breast procedure usually takes two and a half to three hours.

Transfer to Breasts


You will be given specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medicines.

If you smoke, plan to quit at least two weeks prior to the surgery and not resume smoking for at least two weeks after your surgery. Avoid overexposure to the sun before the surgery, especially on the abdomen, and do not go on an astringent diet, as both can inhibit your ability to heal. If you develop a cold or infection of any kind, it is important to inform the surgeon, as your surgery may need to be postponed.

You will need to arrange for someone to collect you after your surgery, as you will be unable to drive. It is also advisable to have someone to stay with you for a few days to help you out if needed.


It is a requirement under the Human Tissue Act 2004, that all patients wishing to have their fat stored have a detailed blood test prior to the procedure. This blood test must include the standard profile of a Full Blood Count, Biochemistry Profile, ESR & INR together with the legislation requirements of; HIV 1& 2, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C & Syphilis. Each patient will be asked to sign a consent form for this test to be completed.

As every patient and surgeon has a different view of what is a desirable size, position and shape breast, it is important that you discuss your expectations with the surgeon at the time of the consultation. It is important to note that in the case of breasts with fat, it is only possible to increase your volume by 1 cup size. If you wish to increase more, you may have to still consider breast implants or a combination of both.

In the week before, you should not take any medications containing aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), since these products affect the blood clotting mechanism and therefore may lead to excessive bleeding during and after surgery, hence resulting in increased bruising. Taking high doses of vitamin E preparations, eating large amounts of garlic and consuming alcohol can also produce the same result and should be avoided. If pain medication is necessary, we recommend you take ibuprofen/paracetamol.

It is in your own best interests to quit smoking, at least two weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery. It is well known that smoking causes narrowing of the blood vessels, which leads to a decreased blood supply to the skin, thus slowing and interfering with the healing process.

Be sure to inform your surgeon of any medications you take, as well as possible allergies including (drug, latex, plasters and so on). Your surgeon will decide whether preliminary examinations are necessary, such as blood tests, an electrocardiogram, or x-rays of the lungs. If this is the case, these tests should be performed several weeks before the surgery.


This procedure is performed either under local anaesthesia or light sedation. Sedation is a state in which you will be unaware of what is going on and pain-free, however, this is not a general anaesthetic so you will not be “put to sleep”. If you are having the procedure under sedation, you must arrange for someone to come and collect you and stay with you overnight.

Breast Reshaping With Fat Injections

Once the harvesting site (area) has been determined (generally the abdomen, but fat may be harvested from the hips and thighs), the area is anaesthetised. Next, the fat is harvested with a 1-2 millimetre cannula. The fat is then mixed with a solution called albumin to clean and preserve the fat. The area requiring rejuvenation is anaesthetised and the fat is placed with a blunt cannula.

The amount of fat put in each area is always more than needed. The reason for this is that we know that initially about 40 – 50% will be absorbed by the body, the rest will stay. We always keep some of the patient’s fat in our fat bank freezer. Therefore, if in the future you need more rejuvenation to an area, we already have the fat ready to apply. Most patients need around two to three sessions, but by having the fat stored in our fat bank there is no need to harvest it again. Pathological studies have shown that we can still use fat for up to two years after harvesting. The cells of the adipose tissue (fat) maintain all their anatomical and physiological properties for this duration.

After your procedure, you will stay for about 2 hours post-surgery in recovery and during this time the nurse will explain your post-operative instructions and the tablets which you will need to take (painkillers and antibiotics). We may place some ice over the treated areas to minimise any swelling. You can expect some slight swelling for the first 48 hours. Occasionally patients develop ecchymosis (bruising), which usually disappears within 5-7 days. They are very easy to cover up with makeup.

You will have a compression bandage on the area where the fat was harvested from, which needs to remain in place for one week. There will also be a suture (stitch) at this site, which is removed after one week. You will need to return to the clinic after one week for the nurse to remove the bandage and suture, as well as to check that everything is healing well.


When performed by a qualified surgeon, complications from a Fat Harvest are infrequent and usually minor. Nevertheless, there is always a possibility of complications, including reaction to the anaesthesia, infection, haematoma (bleeding under the skin), bleeding – resulting in increased bruising, temporary swelling and a slight asymmetry in healing or scarring. You can reduce your risks by closely following your surgeon’s instructions both before and after surgery.


There are two options currently to help with fat survival.  The first is the PRP that can ensure better fat survival, thus ensuring your results are longer lasting and is usually the more affordable option. A blood test is taken during your fat harvest procedure & the sample is placed into a centrifuge machine. The centrifuge machine spins the blood separating just the platelets. These platelets are then injected directly into the fat tissue & the fat tissue is re-injected into the patient’s required area and/or frozen for later use for up to 2 years.

The second option would be to use stem cells that have the best results in fat survival compared to any other method currently on the market.  It is important to discuss your options with your surgeon during the consultation.

If you have any further questions or queries about this procedure, please feel free to call and speak to either Dr Roberto Viel, Dr Maurizio Viel or any of our nurses. Please note that it is necessary to attend a consultation prior to your operation, this is also the case with existing patients, it may also be necessary to have repeat blood tests.

To book an appointment for Breast reshaping with fat Injections, please call: 020 7636 4272

Patient reviews