Is Fat A Better Option For Breast Enlargement Than Saline Implants?

Q: I was looking at having breast augmentation done. One of my breasts is larger than the other. But I was woundering if you could use instead of saline implants fat from somewhere else on my body, like my stomach area?? That would solve two problems at once!

A: The appeal of using fat instead of a synthetic material certainly is of interest to some patients. If fat worked just as well as implants, and was no more costly to perform, then it truly would be a better option. However, as of today, fat remains a breast technique in evolution and development. The harvesting and injection of the fat are standard plastic surgery methods. However, fat after injection is not yet completely predictable and is prone to resorption, uneveness and lumps. It is also highly likely that multiple sessions of fat injections would be needed to get close to what most women would want. With multiple treatments, the cost would exceed what breast implant surgery would cost.

Scarring and lumps in the breast are also a concern for long-term breast cancer surveillance. It is not yet known if fat grafts into a non-reconstructed breast who has not had a mastectomy interferes with the detection of breast cancer.

Until the science of fat transplantation is better understood, fat injections into the breast should only be considered for those patients who are willing to accept the risks that come with being an early adopter of a surgical technique. For now, the use of a breast implant is more predictable and economical.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana