Plastic surgeons had been working for many decades to make breast implants with fat a real possibility. Though the use of fat in reconstructive surgeries became a reality in the late 19th century itself, its use as a breast implant has only been approved recently. In recent years, more and more women have opted for breast enhancement using fat.
There is no doubt that breast implants with fat has many advantages, but it also has some disadvantages. Therefore, if you are thinking about having your breasts enlarged using fat from your body, it is important to first learn what this surgery is all about and most importantly to learn the disadvantages and advantages associated with this surgery.
Autologous Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation or enhancement using fat harvested from the patient’s body is called autologous breast augmentation. In this procedure, plastic surgeons do not use breast implants to enhance the breasts.
Initially fat grafting was used to improve the results of breast reconstruction surgery, which is done after breast mastectomy. It was also used by plastic surgeons to hide the edges of saline or silicone gel breast implants.
Fat Grafting for Breast Enhancement
However, plastic surgeons have begun to use fat grafting for breast enhancement purposes. This surgery is performed under a general anesthesia. Once the plastic surgeon gives the go ahead for breast augmentation with fat, the patient is required to wear the BRAVA, which is basically an external tissue expander.
BRAVA system consists of two suction cups, which are basically brassier made with gel like material. The patient has to start wearing these cups three to five weeks before the surgery. Moreover, they have to be worn ten to twelve hours every day during this period. A week before the surgery, the doctor will advise the patient to wear these cups 24 hours a day. The patient can remove these cups only when taking a shower.
Purpose of BRAVA System
The BRAVA system applies gentle suction pressure on the breasts. After some period the breast tissues stretch as a result of the constant suction pressure applied by the two cups. When the breast tissues stretch, they make room for the fat to be injected into the breasts.
The BRAVA system also helps improve the blood flow to the breasts. This in turn helps the chances of fat surviving after it has been injected into the breasts.
There are two procedures in breast augmentation with fat. The surgeon first has to harvest the fat. In the second procedure, the surgeon injects the fat cells into the breasts.
Harvesting of Fat
The fat is harvested from buttocks, stomach, and/or thighs. The plastic surgeon will use ultrasound-assisted liposuction, water-assisted liposuction, or laser liposuction for harvesting purposes.
Initially, the fat was harvested manually using the Coleman harvesting cannula, which was attached to a syringe. Over the years new methods were developed for fat harvesting. One such method uses a machine called Vaser Lipo. This machine transmits ultrasound waves in order to transform the fat into a liquid state.
When fat is harvested using the Vaser Lipo machine, there is least damage caused to the fat. This in turn improves the chances of fat surviving after grafting. Only very small amount of fat is harvested- roughly about two and a half pints. This much fat is enough to increase the size of the breasts by one cup.
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Processing and Transplantation of Fat
The harvested fat is then processed so that medical fluids, anesthetics, blood, water, oil, and lipids are removed from the fat. The healthy and good fat cells are then slowly injected into the breasts. The surgeon will not inject the whole fat at one go. The fat is injected one drop at a time. At least one dozen syringes are used to transfer the fat. The fat is injected into the space between the chest wall and breast and also between the breast capsule and breast skin.
Advantages of Implants with Fat
One of the major advantages of breast implants with fat is that it is taken from the patient’s body and thus there is no risk of any allergic reaction. Another advantage of breast enhancement with fat is that it gives the surgeon more room to properly shape and sculpt your breasts. Moreover, fat transfer provides natural looking breasts that also feel real.
Since fat is injected into the breasts, this procedure involves no incisions. Very small openings of around 4 millimeters are made for liposuction and injection purposes. These openings heal in no time.
Another advantage of implants with fat is that the woman is able to enhance her breasts and at the same time loose fat from the thighs, stomach, or buttocks.
Disadvantages of Implants with Fat
One of the major disadvantages of breast implants with fat is that surgeons can only increase the size of the breast by one cup. With saline and silicone gel breast implants the size of the breasts can be increased by as much as you like.
Another disadvantage is that the transferred fat can die. This is because the transferred does not have a blood supply. Once the fat is transplanted, it slowly develops its blood supply. If this fails to happen, of which there is always a chance, it will result in the death of the transplanted fat. Moreover, the transplanted fat can be reabsorbed by the body and this will result in no change in the breast size.
The amount of fat that is required to increase the size of the breast can lead to the development of calcifications. Once these calcifications develop they will stay for the rest of the woman’s life. Development of breast calcifications will mean that the woman will have to go for frequent checkups to ensure that the calcifications are benign in nature. Moreover, breast implants with fat also make it hard to get clear breast images using mammogram. Women with sagging or droopy breasts will not benefit from this procedure. They will still have to go for a breast lift to remove the sagging.
Another disadvantage of the breast implants with fat is the prolonged use of BRAVA system. Wearing the BRAVA system continuously for so long is not something that every woman can do. Moreover, this procedure is quite expensive. Another major disadvantage of this procedure is that it is still pretty new and there is not enough data to back this procedure completely.
There is no doubt that breast implants with fat offers good results; however, you have to weigh the pros and cons very carefully before going for this procedure. Moreover, it is very important to have this procedure done by a certified plastic surgeon. Also make sure that the surgeon has enough experience with this type of breast enhancement procedure. Only then will you be able to get maximum results from this procedure.
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