Fat Transfer to Breasts
Transferring ones own fat is today’s number one treatment for loss of volume to the breasts. As we age the appearance of our breasts may start to sag or loose volume and it is inevitable our breasts start to show their age. Even though this is part of the normal ageing process and there is nothing we can do to stop it, we can fill out the breast area with fat, making the breasts appear fuller.
This technique is used in patients with smaller breasts or older women whose breasts have reduced in size or drooped, after having children. The average increase in bust volume is generally one-cup size therefore implants are the best option if you want larger breasts.
The fat transfer technique is a popular treatment because it offers temporary fullness to the breast area, and since it is the patient’s own fat, there is no risk of rejection or possibility of allergic reaction. However this treatment is not permanent & will require repeating to maintain fullness in the breast area.
Two weeks before the surgery, you should not take any medications containing aspirin since these products affect the bloods clotting mechanism and therefore may lead to excessive bleeding during and after surgery, 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 until two 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.
Your fat transfer procedure is performed at our Harley St Clinic, usually under light sedation anaesthesia. 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 collect you and stay with you overnight.
Once the harvesting area has been determined, usually 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 washed, ready for re-injection. The breast area is anaesthetised and the fat is placed with a blunt cannula.
The amount of fat put in each breast is always more than needed. The reason for this is that initially, approximately 30% of the injected fat will be absorbed by the body. Most patients will need a repeat treatment six to 12 months following their initial treatment to maintain the breast volume.
After your procedure you will stay for approximately two hours, during which time the nurse will explain your post-operative instructions and medication, (painkillers and antibiotics). We may place some ice over the treated area to minimise any swelling. You can expect some slight swelling for the first 48 hours. Occasionally patients develop bruising, which usually disappears within a week.
You will have a compression bandage on the area where the fat was taken from, which needs to remain in place for one week, you may then remove this yourself. There will also be a suture at this site, the suture will dissolve within 7 – 10 days following treatment.
You will need to return to the clinic four weeks following your surgery for a review with your surgeon.
When performed by a qualified surgeon, complications from a fat transfer are infrequent and usually minor. Nevertheless, there is always a possibility of complications, including reaction to the anaesthesia, infection, haematoma, 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.
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.