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Fat vs Implants for Breast Augmentation

Breast Augmentation: Breast Implants vs. Fat Transfer

Breast augmentation is the most popular cosmetic procedure, with over 286,000 procedures performed in 2012 alone. For years women have been able to increase the size of their breasts, improve sagginess, correct asymmetry, and improve their breast shape with this ever ­advancing procedure. Most cosmetic surgeons offer breast augmentation involving implants, while others offer a breast implant alternative: fat grafting.

What is Breast Augmentation with Fat Grafting?

Also known as “natural breast augmentation,” breast augmentation via fat grafting involves liposuction of fat tissue from areas such as the stomach, thighs, hips, and back. When the fat is removed without damaging the fat cells, it can be purified and then re­injected into the patient’s breasts for augmentation.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Breast Augmentation with Fat Grafting

Breast augmentation with fat grafting holds a few clear advantages over breast implants. When the patient’s own fat is used for augmentation, there is no risk of the material being rejected or an implant rupturing. There is also no need to replace the injected fat, whereas implants may need to be replaced over time. Additionally, the procedure requires only very small incisions on the breast, so there is little risk for scarring or loss of sensation. Recovery time is often shorter because the procedure is less invasive, and local anesthesia is typically used rather than general anesthesia.  However, some surgeons do not recommend fat grafting for breast augmentation because it has not been studied as extensively as breast implants have. There is a chance that some of the injected fat may be reabsorbed by the body, making the final results less predictable. Since this can occur, only women who wish to increase one or two cup sizes should consider this option. Fat grafting is also more costly than implants and can range from $18,000 to $22,000.

What is Breast Augmentation with Implants?

Breast augmentation with implants involves the insertion of either silicone or saline implants into the breasts. Implants may be inserted above or below the chest muscle. There are several options for incision locations, including around the areola, under the breast, in the armpit, and sometimes through the navel.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Breast Augmentation with Implants

Breast implants represent some of the most widely studied medical devices approved by the FDA. Breast implants are more likely to give more of a lift for women who have breast droopiness. More volume can also be achieved, which is guaranteed with the procedure. The average cost of implants is considerably less than fat grafting and ranges from $4,000 to $10,000. However, risks such as implant rupture, capsular contracture, and breast asymmetry can occur.  Regardless of the technique a patient chooses for breast augmentation, they should always research both the physician and the method they are considering. At your initial consultation, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Shah can help you decide which procedure will be right for you.

If you are interested in breast augmentation in the Columbus or Dublin, Ohio areas, call the Columbus Institute of Plastic Surgery at (614) 482-2123 to schedule a consultation.