Fat Grafting Overview

If you’re unsatisfied with the appearance of your breast(s) due to a birth defect, cancer treatment, or previous breast surgery, you may be a candidate for breast deformity correction known as fat grafting or fat transferring. Fat grafting uses fat taken from elsewhere in the body and injects it into your breasts to improve their appearance.

During the procedure, the surgeon will use a low-pressure liposuction technique with a syringe to take fat from elsewhere in the body. The fat is then processed, washed with saline, and grafted onto the breast. Depending on your needs, this may mean filling in irregularities or smoothing out skin distortions and asymmetrical breast shape.

Because your body may absorb a portion of the grafted fat, your surgeon may overfill the breast. This will help ensure your breast settles into the size and shape you desire.

Planning and Recovery

Many of our patients begin planning their fat grafting procedure after undergoing breast reconstruction to attain a more appealing and natural breast appearance. You’ll have a discussion with one of our surgeons to determine whether you’re a possible candidate for the surgery. In order to qualify, you’ll need an area of excess fat (such as from the stomach, thighs, or hips) that can be transferred to your breast.

Although fat grafting has limitations, it is a safer alternative to more complicated procedures. Because it uses your own fat, its results are more natural and can last longer than implants or injectable fillers. And because the transfer process only requires small incisions, the procedure and recovery process is shorter and less intensive.

The procedure for fat grafting is typically performed in an outpatient setting with patients returning home the same day. Recovery is generally short—you may be able to return to work in two to 14 days, although swelling may last up to six weeks.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Fat grafting for breast deformities is covered by some insurance plans, but not all. Please contact your insurance company to determine your specific coverage.

If you’re exploring options for insurance coverage, you may need to request a referral from your primary care doctor, depending on your health insurance plan. Check with your carrier to see if medical coverage is an option for you and, if so, whether a referral is required.

Every surgical procedure involves some risk. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the risks of fat grafting include:

  • Cysts
  • Infection
  • Microcalcification (small calcium deposits in the breast tissue)
  • Necrosis (death) of fat cells
  • Possibility that some of the transferred fat cells will leave the breast area
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