The traditional historical method to augment breasts uses artificial implants.
More recently, a growing number of patients and surgeons have turned towards more natural ‘autologous’ methods (using your own tissue rather than an artificial implant), such as fat transfer (also called lipofilling).
This is a process whereby fat from other areas of your body is removed using liposuction,processed and then reinjected in your breasts via a few small holes (about 3-4 mm in width).
In addition, it can be processed differently and re-injected into the overlying skin to improve its quality, such as for any crepe-like fine wrinkling in the upper chest décolleté area.
Roughly 50-60% of the volume of the injected fat picks up a blood supply from the surrounding tissue, and is incorporated to produce the final size increase.
The advantage of this technique is that your breasts are augmented using your own tissue, leaving you with breasts that look and feel entirely natural. It also avoids foreign body-related potential complications further down the line, such as implant rupture, capsular contracture, and the much rarer Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
However, depending on the degree of augmentation required, you may need two or more stages to achieve the size you desire. It is impossible to guarantee exactly how much of the transferred fat survives at each step, as that process depends on your own blood vessels growing around the transferred cells to nourish it.
Of note, you would not be suitable for this procedure if you have a medical condition that affects your circulation (such as diabetes, amongst others) or are a smoker.
This can be done under local or general anaesthesia depending on the extent of the augmentation required. You will be allowed home on the same day.
There will be some swelling and bruising in both your breasts and the donor areas where fat has been harvested from. This will be minimised by wearing a support garment for this area until the bruising settles, as well as a non- underwired support bra for three months.
Depending on your type of work and amount of fat transferred, you will be advised regarding the time off work you will need to plan for, but this is usually around one week. It is advised that you avoid high impact activity for six weeks.
These will be discussed with you during your consultation, including the risks that may be specific to you if you have a significant medical history.
It is important to take your time and consider them carefully. You will have the opportunity to return for a second consultation to discuss them further, as well as any other queries you may have.
You can find more information on the BAPRAS website