Fat Grafting: Overview

Fat grafting is a technique used to fill in contour irregularities. These scoops or hollows can result from a prior lumpectomy defect and are also common at junction of implant based or tissue based breast reconstruction with the chest wall.

Fat Grafting Procedure

Fat is usually obtained by liposuction from the hips, flanks, or upper thighs—locations where many women have “extra” and don’t mind it being removed. The fat has oil and fluid removed, and is then injected into the area where it is needed. The fat does not come with a blood supply, and thus needs to be laid in a thin layer next to vascularized tissue. Your surgeon will consider the 3D architecture of the breast, and lay the fat in multiple passes and multiple different planes to sculpt an improved contour. Your surgeon may be limited in how much fat can be placed at a single setting, because all grafted fat must be placed adjacent to living tissue.

What To Expect After Undergoing Fat Grafting

Fat grafting is often planned as a “staged”, or multiple, procedure. We know that ~50% of the fat which is grafted will not survive—this is due to the fat cells not obtaining a blood supply. Women will often notice volume loss at the fat grafted site, which should stabilize by ~3 months. At that point, your surgeon may recommend an additional fat grafting procedure.

Before & After photo
Left abdominal based-breast reconstruction (left photo)
Before & After photo
followed by Stage I (center photo) and
Before & After photo
Stage II (right photo) fat grafting.
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