Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation fat transfer (BAFT), is a procedure during which unwanted fat is removed from one area of the body (such as the thighs or stomach) and inserted into the breasts to increase their size. A procedure that does not therefore involve the insertion of implants, it is generally considered a minimally invasive alternative to the insertion of breast implants. Furthermore, as it involves removing unwanted fat from other areas of the body, it can be a doubly beneficial cosmetic procedure.
How Much Does Fat Transfer Breast Enlargement Cost?
As a purely cosmetic procedure, BAFT treatment is not available on the NHS and thus is undergone privately. Treatment costs start at around £3,000 and depend on the individual patient, the procedure undertaken and the clinic providing the treatment. As the procedure is technically two procedures in one, the costs may be slightly higher than a traditional breast augmentation; however the risks and recovery time are much lower.
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The Fat Transfer Procedure
When you go for a BAFT procedure the area used for collection (usually your stomach or thighs) will be injected with a “tumescence” solution which reduces pain and bleeding. The area then undergoes liposuction and the collected fat is purified before being injected through a cannula into the natural small hollows within the upper portion of your breasts, resulting in their enlargement.
What Is Fat Transfer Enlargement?
Mr David Floyd, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital, explains exactly how the fat transfer procedure works:
"Lipofilling is a technique that has been with us for many years. In principle it involves removing fat from one area of the body, processing it and cleaning it up, and injecting it as a fat graft back into another area to plump up the tissue.
We’ve been using it in cosmetic facial surgery for the last ten years. We’ve used it breast reconstruction for the last ten years, as well, and it’s become a very effective technique in plastic surgery.
What’s new however is that we’ve started to use it for primary breast enlargement, so instead of placing silicone implants we can now inject fat into the breast instead of implants. Obviously the attraction of that is we use your own natural tissue, there are none of the complications associated with implants, you end up with a soft natural looking breast that’s just a bit bigger."
Mr David Floyd, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital
Which Areas Can Fat Transfer Treat?
There are certain areas that are most suitable areas from which fat can be collected, including:
- The lower abdomen (“muffin top”)
- Hips and waist
- Inner thighs
- Inner knees
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Advantages of Fat Transfer
- Natural looking and feeling breast enlargement, with no foreign body insertion and thus no potential for scar tissue or breast distortion
- Two beneficial procedures in one; naturally enlarged breasts and reduced problem fatty areas such as the abdomen or thighs
- Low volume BAFT procedures can normally be done under local anaesthetic, avoiding the potential risks and recovery time needed following a general anaesthetic
- Healing time is significantly shorter than with breast implant augmentation, typically only taking around 1-2 weeks
- Minimal scarring compared to traditional implant augmentation, as incisions are only 1-2mm long
Disadvantages of Fat Transfer
- Possible changes to mammogram results that may mimic the appearance of cancer
- Limits on the level of enlargement possible: augmentation is most likely limited to an increase of one cup size. It is also difficult to alter the shape or height of the breasts using BAFT alone
- Longevity is limited: BAFT is a non-permanent procedure likely to need repeating at a later date. Factors affecting the longevity of the procedure include weight loss, smoking and whether a blood supply is successfully established by the body following the procedure
- All of the normal risks of liposuction, including bruising, scarring and saggy skin
- There is a small potential for the development of calcified lumps or cysts within the breasts
- As BAFT is a relatively new and specialised treatment, availability is much more limited than for standard breast augmentation.
Results of Breast Transfer Enlargement
In addition to reducing unwanted fatty areas from which the fat is harvested, the BAFT procedure can enlarge your breasts by up to one cup size, although results may vary as it is reported that anywhere between 30-80% of the fat is actually retained within the breasts. As the fat is injected into the upper portion of the breast, just under the skin, meaning that uplift or significant reshaping is not technically possible using BAFT.