Can I just use fat instead of a breast implant?
Technically yes, you can transfer natural body fat instead of using a breast implant. But which is better: breast implants or fat transfer?
This head-to-head comes up a lot in the Bustmob Community, a safe space for women to learn and connect on their plastic surgery journey.
Though it can be tempting to think a little switch-a-roo of fat would be fairly simple, it’s a little more complicated than that, which is why many women looking to add volume and shape to their breast reach for a breast implant.
But let’s talk about the pros and cons of fat transfer and breast implants.
Fat grafting vs. breast augmentation with implants
The fat grafting procedure uses liposuction to remove fat from other parts of the body and place that fat in another part of the body, in this case, the breasts.
Fat transfer can add volume to the breasts but does not add shape.
Fat grafting can be a great option for spot-treating an area or correcting a contour deformity, like implant rippling, an inverted nipple, or a divot on one side from a previous procedure.
However, for those looking to significantly go up in cup size, a breast implant is likely a better option.
Your plastic surgeon will be able to discuss what is best for you and your anatomy during your one-on-one consultation.
Saline and silicone breast implants on the other hand add both volume and shape to the breasts.
Because most women are looking for upper pole fullness and shape as well as an increase in breast size, they tend to opt for breast implants.
Some cons of breast implants
One of the biggest cons of breast implants is the risk. But let’s face it, all things come with a little risk.
Some of the most common risks of breast implants are:
- Implant rippling
- Capsular contracture
- Implant rupture
Implant rippling is when you can see or feel the breast implant through the skin. It’s common in women with a low amount of fat and natural breast tissue.
Capsular contracture is when the scar tissue, sometimes called the pocket, around the implant, squeezes the implant.
Breast implant rupture happens when a small tear forms in the silicone shell of the implant over time.
Though these risks are typically not medically harmful, they can mean additional surgery in some cases.
Some risks like implant rippling have more obvious causes like the amount of natural fat and breast tissue a woman has, while other complications like capsular contracture, based on what we know today, seem to be more of a mix of risk factors.
You can learn more about the specific breast implant and breast augmentation risks in the free Bustmob Academy app.
Fat transfer has its own shortcomings.
One of the biggest reasons women decide against a breast fat transfer is that fat grafting only adds volume, not shape to the breasts.
That round, upper pole fullness is often what interests women in getting a breast augmentation in the first place. That breast shape just can’t happen with fat transfer alone.
The amount of body fat you have and where it is on your body also plays a role in fat grafting success.
Fat grafting results are also unpredictable since a lot of the fat dies in the process, leaving only about 70% of the fat at most to remain in the breasts.
Therefore, it often takes more than one fat grafting procedure to reach your aesthetic goals, which means more costs and recovery.
We’re here to be honest with you. Though liposuction is extremely popular and a permanent way to remove fat cells from an area, its recovery is not an easy one and certainly not one many people are excited to go through multiple times.
Calcifications can also form in the breasts with a fat transfer, which will mess with mammograms for the rest of your life.
Not to mention, any fluctuations in weight will affect your results. So if you go on to lose weight, you’ll also lose that fat in your breasts, along with the money you poured into the cosmetic procedure.
Now that you mention it, what is the cost?
The cost of breast augmentation is typically between $5,500-$9,000, depending on your plastic surgeon and your location.
To get an idea of what your procedure will cost, use the transparent pricing tool by Amelia Aesthetics. Their pricing is all-inclusive and available instantly without having to book a consultation.
All of this leaves you wondering if fat transfer is even worth it.
For most women, the risks and complications of fat transfer breast augmentation just aren't worth it compared to the overall ease and success of breast augmentation with breast implants.
If for some reason you can’t have a breast implant, it’s still possible to do a fat transfer. It just may take more than one procedure to get the results that you’re looking for.
Above all, do your research and ask your plastic surgeon.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that all bodies differ and that means our unique risks and benefits for each procedure differ as well.
Knowing the basics before your consultation will empower you during your conversation with your plastic surgeon and give you a jumping-off point to ask informed questions, so you leave with everything you need to make the right choice for you.
Found this helpful, but want more?
Good news! This is just one of hundreds of fun, factual videos on the Bustmob Academy app to make your plastic surgery research easy.
From commonly told myths and FAQs, to recovery time and costs, Jenny Eden, founder of Bustmob, and Gretta Nance, lead educator at Amelia Aesthetics, break down your plastic surgery research into bite-size, binge-able pieces.
Pair the Bustmob Academy app with Jenny’s 15-Day Texting Series and you are well on your way to being empowered and educated before you even set foot in your consultation.