Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
Fat transfer breast augmentation involves the removal of excess fat from specific areas of your body using liposuction, which is then re-inserted into your breasts to enhance their size and shape.
It is a safer and less invasive procedure than breast implant surgery, with a significantly lower risk of complication and a much shorter recovery time.
Fat transfer breast augmentation costs approximately £5,500, although prices do vary depending on how much fat is removed and inserted into your breasts.
What Is Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation?
In fat transfer breast augmentation, excess fat is removed from areas of the body and is transferred to the breasts to increase their size and improve their shape. This advanced procedure combines two types of cosmetic surgery: liposuction to remove unwanted fat, and breast augmentation surgery to enhance the breasts. Excess fat is normally removed from areas such as the stomach and thighs. Fat transfer breast augmentation achieves a more natural and softer look than having traditional breast implants, and the area that you’ve had the fat removed from will be slimmer.
Here, Mr David Floyd, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital, explains what breast enlargement with fat transfer is:
"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
Am I Eligible?
Fat transfer breast augmentation is suitable for anyone wanting to contour their figure while achieving a subtle enhancement to their breasts. However, the only way to know for sure if you’re suitable for the surgery is to have a consultation with a qualified surgeon who is experienced in carrying out the procedure.
You will be suitable for fat transfer breast augmentation if you:
- Have enough excess fat. If you have a petite frame without much fat, then you won’t be suitable as the surgeon won’t have enough fat to extract to insert into your breasts. It takes approximately two and a half pints of fat to make your breasts just one cup size larger.
- Have breasts that have reduced in size and volume due to weight loss, ageing or having children.
- Have asymmetric breasts where one breast is mildly smaller than the other.
- Have previously had breast implants that have since been removed.
You will not be suitable for surgery to move fat to your breasts if you:
- Want to increase your breast size significantly. Fat transfer breast augmentation can only increase your breast size by one or two cup sizes. If you require a larger increase in breast size then you should talk to your surgeon about breast implant surgery.
- Want a breast uplift. Fat transfer to the boobs does not have an uplifting effect on sagging or drooping breasts - it can only add shape and definition.
- Plan to have children in the next 12 months.
- Have a family history of breast cancer. It’s important to realise that fat transfer breast augmentation can interfere with the results of any subsequent mammograms. The transferred fat can mimic cancerous cells and leave the results of mammograms unclear.
How Is It Performed?
Fat transfer breast surgery normally takes between 1 to 3 hours to complete. It is carried out under local anaesthetic or sedation. This means that you won’t be put to sleep for your surgery, but you will feel drowsy and the areas affected will be numbed. It is carried out on an outpatient basis, meaning you can return home shortly after the procedure is finished (if no complications have arisen).
Below is a step-by-step guide outlining what to expect before, during and after your fat transfer breast augmentation surgery:
- You will undergo a consultation in which your surgeon will talk to you about how much fat can be transferred and from where, and what kind of results you can expect from the procedure.
- The consultation will also allow you to ask any questions you have, and to get to know the treatment team who will be carrying out the surgery.
- You will meet with the anaesthetist who will make you feel relaxed and ensure that you are comfortable before the surgery starts.
- Excess fat will be extracted from certain parts of your body using a type of liposuction. Surgeons often opt for a non-invasive form of the surgery such as VASER liposuction, in which your fat is broken down using a small ultrasound probe that is inserted into the donor area through a keyhole incision. This turns the fat into a liquid, which can be easily extracted via a thin suction tube.
- Once enough fat has been extracted, it will prepared for transfer using a specialised process. This involves separating any unwanted elements from the harvested fat (including water and oil) and combining it with stem cells taken from your blood.
- The fat will then be placed into sterile syringes which the surgeon will use to inject the fat into your breasts. The fat will be deposited into numerous ‘tunnels’ within your breast tissue to enhance their shape and size.
- You will be moved to a private recovery suite where you will be able to relax until you feel that you are ready to leave the clinic.
- Your surgeon will schedule a follow-up appointment with you and provide you with post-operative aftercare instructions which you must adhere to ensure the best recovery.
- You will usually be advised to wear support garments on the areas that you’ve had fat removed from, as well as a support bra for a few weeks after the procedure to help your body to heal.
- Most patients take between 1 and 4 weeks to fully recover. Within this time everyday activities can be resumed, however it is advised to avoid strenuous activities such as rigorous exercise for at least 4 to 6 weeks post-surgery.
How Much Does Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation Cost?
The average cost of fat transfer breast augmentation is approximately £5,500, with prices starting from just £3,950 and increasing to £6,750. The procedure is currently only available at a limited number of clinics in the UK.
The cost of your breast surgery with fat transfer will depend on your own individual circumstances. It will take into account:
- How much excess fat you’d like removed.
- What area you have fat removed from.
- How many areas you have fat removed from.
- The technique the surgeon uses to remove and process the fat.
Here’s a cost comparison table of the starting price of fat transfer breast augmentation surgery at some of the UK’s leading breast surgery clinics:
|Aesthetic Beauty Centre||£4,000|
|Harley Body Clinic||£6,500|
|The Private Clinic||£6,500|
It is important to recognize that the cost of moving fat to your breasts is typically more expensive than the cost of breast implant surgery. This is because fat transfer breast augmentation involves two different cosmetic procedures. This kind of surgery not only enhances your breasts, but it also slims down areas where you have excess fat such as the insides of the thighs and the abdominal area.
Benefits Of Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
Fat transfer breast augmentation offers many benefits over breast implant surgery, including:
- It’s minimally invasive with a shorter downtime and recovery period than breast implant surgery.
- Your breasts are enhanced at the same time as other areas of your body are slimmed down.
- It allows you to achieve a more natural looking and feeling breast than implant surgery.
- There are no foreign objects inserted into your body, meaning there is no potential for serious implant-related complications.
- As it’s your own fat, there is no risk of an allergic reaction.
- There’s less risk of damage to nerves and blood vessels from surgery than the implant procedure.
- There is minimal scarring compared to traditional implant augmentation, as the keyhole incisions are only 1-2 mm long.
- You won’t usually need an overnight stay in hospital.
- The results are immediate and it provides a long-term improvement to the size and the shape of the breast.
Are There Any Risks?
As with all surgical procedures, there are risks. Common risks include:
- Swelling and bruising at the surgical sites, as well as some pain and discomfort.
- Your breasts will shrink a little in size following surgery as some of the injected fat will be reabsorbed into the body. This may also cause a number of small but harmless lumps developing within your breast tissue.
More serious (but less common) risks include:
- Infections at the surgical sites.
- Allergic reaction to the anaesthetic.
- Fat tissue dying (fat necrosis).
- A piece of fat causing a blockage in a blood vessel (fat embolism).
Your surgeon will explain these risks to you during your consultation. You will be made aware of how likely they will occur, as well as how they can be treated. Should you experience any problems while you are recovering from the surgery, you should schedule an appointment with your surgeon.
If you believe that the procedure wasn’t carried out correctly, or you haven’t achieved the results you were expecting, you should raise the issue with your surgeon or clinic. If necessary, you should contact the Care Quality Commission (CQC) or make a complaint about your surgeon to the General Medical Council (GMC).