The idea of using liposuction to harvest fat and then inject that fat into the breast has been around for decades and many patients who come in for liposuction ask “Can’t you take it from here (the butt), and put it here (the breast)?”. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons issued a position paper on fat injection to the breasts in 1989 and disapproved of the procedure primarily because of the effects it could have on breast cancer surveillance and mammography. A recent article in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery did, however, show impressive results in several breast augmentation patients using only fat injection.
There are, of course, issues to be considered. The fat injection augmentation takes much longer to perform than traditional breast augmentation. While implants can be placed in 60-90 minutes, fat injection augmentation can take 4-6 hours to perform. The fat placed in the chest may not “take” and some or all of it may be absorbed by the body. This means that fat injection augmentation may need to be repeated and it might not work at all in some patients. Due to the time it takes, fat injection augmentation may also cost much more than implant augmentation.
The most important issue when dealing with fat injection augmentation is the topic of cancer monitoring and mammograms. The new techniques described in the recent publication discuss placing the fat in the muscle under the breast which should remove some of the concerns of mammography. In addition, experience with liposuction breast reduction has shown that manipulation of the breast does not usually result in calcifications and when it does. Those calcium deposits usually look benign and can be differentiated from malignancy.