Fat injection is a popular technique for Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL). Although it’s not a new technique, it is now gaining interest for breast augmentation due to it’s social media presence for BBL. Fat injection involves harvesting fat with liposuction, processing and purifying what was sucked out, and then re-injecting it in a different part of the body for increased size.
While just about anyone may be a candidate for fat injection to their bottom half (BBL), breast aesthetics are far more complex. If you’re a regular on @breastexpert or our site, you’ll hear Dr. Feldman discuss over and over, that pretty breasts are not just purely about size, and bigger is not always better. Dr. Feldman starts every breast augmentation consult, with the most honest statement in plastic surgery: “What you start with, is the single biggest influence on what you end up with” particularly when it comes to breast aesthetics.
Like any new fad, initial enthusiasm often fades quickly and the technique either disappears or develops a more appropriate limited niche. Why risk other surgeons experimenting with your breasts and body? Dr. Feldman focuses solely on breast enhancement so he’s already identified the benefits and limitations of fat injection to the breast. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! So yes, Dr. Feldman, can perform fat injection to the breast, but as he prioritizes your safety and your results, is extremely cautious who he offers the procedure to, as a quality control measure.
The two biggest issues are that fat injection can only reliably increase the size of the breast a small amount, typically a half cup size per procedure, and in addition to the minimal size increase, injected fat, unlike a form stable implant, lacks the power to improve the shape of many common breast deformities, like constricted breasts, droopy breasts or if one breast crease is higher than the other. Finally, the long-term safety, impact on breast cancer rates, and how well screening mammograms work after fat injection remains unknown.
In other words:
Patients’ with ideal starting breast shapes for fat injection (think young, perky, before kids small B cups) often don’t have enough fat for the size change they’re looking for with fat injection.
On the other hand, patients’ with enough donor fat, often don’t have the ideal breast anatomy to achieve the look they desire (think post-partum weight gain with deflated, asymmetric saggy or constricted breasts) with fat injection.
So, let’s talk cc’s or size for discussion purposes. The average size implant Dr. Feldman utilizes is about 425cc’s, but this is patient dependent based on dimensional planning. Since there are 2 of them that’s, 850cc total volume. Depending on the study, and technique, only 40-80% of the fat injected survives. So to get 425cc change on each breast you’d need to inject at least 700cc’s per side of purified fat. This would require almost 2000cc or a full 2liters of liposuction!
Now comes the problem: Even if you did have an ideal breast shape, and somehow still had 2000cc of liposuctionable fat, you can’t simply inject 700cc of fat into each breast in a single setting, as nearly all of it will die and liquify. To survive, fat must be injected in very small 0.1cc-1cc droplets. This means 60-100cc is a more realistic amount that can be injected and actually last per session. I haven’t had a single patient, in over 4000 breast augmentation consults, come and ask for a 60-100cc implant, basically going from a small B cup to slightly larger B cup.
This is why world’s authority on fat injection to the breast, Dr. Sydney Coleman, typically requires 4-10 meticulous (often up to 8-10 hours long) injection sessions, at a cost of over $50,000. He can achieve very nice results, if the breast starts with an ideal shape, but that is a lot of surgery and at a price point that is unobtainable by most patients. Dr. Coleman has been injecting fat into the breast since the 1970’s, so this is not a new technique, but due to the number of sessions, cost, plus limited number of patients with enough fat and ideal starting breast shape, doing it the right way never caught on.
However, as fat injection has gained notoriety on social media due to the popularity of the BBL, where huge amounts 2, 3, even 4 liters of fat are injected into the butt and outer thigh in a single session, prioritizing max size as the only outcome, surgeons have begun using that same approach with the breast. However, they’re not achieving the same success, as no regard is paid to the challenges and complexity of breast aesthetics. As such, someone out there will inject as much as possible, without regard for survival, liquefaction, calcification, and breast anatomy. At that point you’re simply paying for hype and services rendered, not the result.
No technique is ever perfect, but breast implants can deliver more predictable and reliable results, in more patient’s than fat injection, at more reasonable pricing. When breast augmentation with implants is performed by a breast expert, and with proper aftercare, the complication rate can be low, while the transformations can be breathtaking. The same cannot be said for fat injection to the breast, in the most common anatomy Dr. Feldman evaluates.
If you’re interested in seeing if you are a candidate for fat injection to your breast, to evaluate your starting breast anatomy, and see if you have enough fat to inject start with our virtual consultation.