Breast Fat Grafting Overview

Are you dreaming of a more natural way to enhance your breast size and shape? Breast fat grafting, also known as fat transfer breast augmentation, uses your body’s own fat to contour your breasts, providing beautiful results that look and feel totally natural.

Fat transfer procedures require an experienced and artistic touch. Dr. Matthew J. Nykiel, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Southern California, specializes in performing this technique for the breasts and buttocks (BBL) and is known as one of the world’s best hourglass body sculptors. 

If you’re considering breast fat grafting or any other cosmetic procedure, we invite you to schedule a consultation at Butts By Design. Dr. Nykiel will discuss all options available to you so you can make an informed decision about how to achieve the beautiful breasts you’ve always desired.

What Is Breast Fat Grafting?

Breast fat grafting (autologous fat transfer) is a surgical technique that reshapes and enhances your breasts using fat harvested from other areas of your body. This can be an alternative to breast implants for those who prefer a more modest enhancement or who wish to avoid synthetic materials in their body. Fat grafting can also be used in conjunction with breast implants for those seeking a more refined result.

Fat transfer procedures begin with liposuction. Liposuction can be performed nearly anywhere there is excess fat, but most commonly, patients choose the abdomen, flanks and thighs. The harvested fat then goes through a purification process that prepares it to be reinjected. In the final stage of the procedure, the fat is injected into the breast tissue to achieve natural-looking fullness and shape.

Why Choose Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation with implants is one of the most popular procedures in the world, but it’s not right for everyone. Breast fat grafting is garnering increasing interest for a variety of reasons:

Natural Material, Natural Results

The natural look and feel of breast fat transfer is virtually unmatched. Since this method uses your body fat instead of silicone or saline implants, your breasts look and feel exactly like your natural tissue.

Dual Benefits

Fat transfer enhances the size and shape of your breasts while simultaneously contouring and reducing fat in other areas of your body. This approach gives you “more bang for your buck” and provides a more balanced and comprehensive result.

Minimally Invasive Procedure 

Compared to breast implant surgery, fat transfer is a minimally invasive procedure. It involves smaller incisions and therefore leaves behind less scarring. Additionally, fat transfer breast augmentation typically requires less downtime for recovery.

Lower Risk of Complications 

No foreign objects are introduced into your body during a fat transfer procedure. While breast implants are rigorously studied and have a good safety profile, fat grafting has a lower risk of complications and minimal chance of allergic reactions or rejection.

Tailored Results 

Fat transfer breast augmentation allows for a significant degree of customization. Dr. Nykiel uses his expert judgment to place fat in areas that achieve your desired shape, look and feel, delivering highly precise and personalized outcomes.

Am I a Candidate for Breast Fat Transfer in Newport Beach?

Ideal candidates for a natural breast augmentation typically meet the following criteria:

  • Have sufficient fat in donor sites to achieve the desired results
  • Are seeking a subtle to moderate increase in breast size
  • Are non-smokers and in good overall health
  • Have realistic expectations of what breast fat transfer can achieve 
  • Can maintain a stable weight before and after the procedure

A Note From Dr. Nykiel

I’m always excited to explore new techniques that can give my patients the best experience possible. Fat transfer has become a popular request because it uses only natural material. This means it creates a very natural result in terms of both the look and feel, and it doesn’t come with the complications that can occur when putting foreign materials in the body. 

Some of my patients want an extremely natural look and fat transfer can give that to them. Others desire a dramatic size difference or love the full cleavage an implant provides. These are things fat grafting cannot achieve. Even with multiple fat transfers, which is common, fat cannot replicate an implant result.

Another factor to consider is breast cancer screening. When fat is transferred into the breast, it may limit the ability to detect breast cancer without using specialized screening mechanisms. This does not mean fat transfer can’t be the right choice for you, but I advise you to weigh both the benefits and drawbacks as you make your decision. As always, I will answer any questions you have thoroughly and transparently.

 What Are the Treatment Steps for a Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation?

Breast fat transfer is a three-step process: 

Step One: Harvesting

Dr. Nykiel starts the procedure by harvesting fat from one or more donor areas with liposuction. He makes small incisions and uses a thin tube called a cannula through the area to break up and remove fat, using gentle techniques to preserve the integrity of the harvested fat cells.

Step Two: Purification

Once enough fat has been harvested, it needs to be purified before being injected into your breasts. The purification process involves removing impurities such as blood, oil and damaged cells from the collected fat. This step maximizes the survival rate of the transferred fat cells.

Step Three: Injection

The final step is the strategic injection of the purified fat into your breasts. Dr. Nykiel carefully plans the injection locations and volumes to ensure even distribution and balanced, natural improvements in shape and size.

What Types of Liposuction Does Dr. Nykiel Use?

Dr. Nykiel uses a range of liposuction technologies during his fat transfer procedures:

Tumescent Liposuction

Tumescent liposuction is the industry standard. Before fat removal, a solution containing epinephrine and lidocaine is injected into the treatment area. This minimizes bleeding and reduces discomfort after the procedure.

VASER® Liposuction

VASER liposuction is state-of-the-art technology that uses ultrasound waves to gently break apart fat cells from their surrounding tissues before removal. This gentle approach results in less bruising, blood loss and pain, and helps preserve the integrity of the fat cells for grafting.

MicroAire® Liposuction

MicroAire liposuction (also known as power-assisted liposuction or PAL) uses powered vibrating suction to maximize fat removal while minimizing procedure time. The combination of VASER and MicroAire allows Dr. Nykiel to remove the most fat for transfer.

What Anesthesia Is Used During Breast Fat Grafting?

Breast fat grafting is performed under general anesthesia. This means that you will be completely asleep and unaware during the procedure. General anesthesia allows you to have a pain-free and relaxed experience throughout the surgery.

General anesthesia is overseen by a board-certified anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist monitors your vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels, to maintain your safety.

“Dr. Nykiel is amazing! He is honest, and friendly. I consulted 5 different surgeons for tummy tuck and liposuction before I was referred to Dr. Nykiel… I am 6 weeks post-op on tummy tuck, lipo and fat transfer to my breast and I couldn’t be happier with my results!” — Martha D.

What Goes Into the Breast Fat Transfer Recovery Process?

Recovery after fat transfer breast augmentation is typically quicker and less physically demanding than implant-based augmentation, but you should still be prepared for one to two weeks of downtime.

The first week post-op is generally the most challenging. You may have tenderness, swelling, bruising and discomfort in the areas where fat was harvested and where the fat was injected. Restrictions on physical activity are at their highest during this period, meaning it’s crucial to rest and allow your body to heal.

You will need to wear special garments after your surgery. Compression garments and surgical bras provide support and help reduce swelling in the treated areas. They should be worn as directed by Dr. Nykiel for several weeks following surgery.

By the end of the first week, swelling and bruising starts to subside and you’ll be able to return to light daily activities. You must strictly avoid any strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for four to six weeks. At that stage, most patients have made a full recovery and can return to their typical workout routine.

How Is Pain Managed During Breast Fat Grafting Recovery?

Dr. Nykiel has developed a comprehensive pain management protocol that addresses pain from multiple angles, making recovery a smoother and more comfortable experience.

Pain control measures begin before surgery and continue during the operation. Studies show that starting pain management in the preoperative phase significantly enhances post-surgery pain control.

After the surgery, the pain management strategy is customized to target different types of pain with different medications, including:

  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Hydrocodone (Norco)
  • Tylenol

Patients undergoing breast fat grafting at Butts By Design often describe their postoperative pain as minimal to mild. Your comfort, safety and satisfaction are our top priorities.

What Are the Risks of Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation?

Undergoing any surgical procedure involves a degree of risk, and breast fat transfer is no exception. Some of the risks associated with this procedure include:

  • Infection
  • Asymmetry
  • Scarring
  • Fat necrosis
  • Changes in breast sensation
  • Oil cyst formation
  • Fat calcification
  • Potential interference with breast cancer detection

Remember, while these risks exist, they are relatively rare when the procedure is performed by an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon who follows proper surgical protocols. We encourage you to discuss any concerns or questions you may have during your consultation with Dr. Nykiel.

A Note From Dr. Nykiel

Over the years, I’ve seen time and time again that a tailored approach yields the best results. To that end, I offer breast fat grafting on its own or as a pairing with another procedure.

If you’re looking to address sagging along with volume loss, combining a breast lift with fat grafting can be an excellent option. The combination allows us to not only lift and reshape your breasts but also give them a subtly fuller and perkier look. 

If you’re seeking a substantial volume increase plus enhanced shape, we can use implants to increase your size and fat transfer for additional upper pole fullness (cleavage). Strategically placed fat can also help conceal the implant for a more natural look and feel.

My goal is to help you achieve the look you’ve always desired with results that are beautiful, natural and balanced. I invite you to schedule a consultation so we can explore the possibilities and create a treatment plan that brings your vision to life.

 When Will I See the Final Results of My Natural Breast Augmentation?

Immediately after your procedure, you will be able to see a volume increase and contour improvements. Remember that this initial appearance includes swelling and the full volume of transferred fat, so it may not be representative of your final result.

As the swelling subsides, you’ll start to see more of the true shape and size of your breasts. However, during this time, some of the transferred fat may be absorbed by your body. The fat absorption period typically lasts for about six weeks, with maximum absorption occurring at two weeks after surgery. 

The fat cells that make it past the six-week absorption phase are generally there to stay. If your goal is a larger increase in breast size or you experience a higher rate of fat reabsorption, you might require more than one fat grafting session. It is not uncommon for patients to undergo multiple rounds of fat transfer to achieve their desired result.

Is Breast Fat Transfer Permanent?

Once the transferred fat cells have successfully integrated into your breast tissue, they are considered permanent. This means they will behave like any other fat cells in your body. If you gain weight, the transferred fat cells can expand. If you lose weight, they can shrink. Maintaining a stable weight is key for preserving your results.

Natural aging processes and gravity will continue to affect your breast tissue. Over time, you may notice further changes in your breasts’ shape, volume or position. You may consider additional procedures in the future to address these changes and restore a more youthful look.

“I got a breast augmentation with Dr. Nykiel and I had the best experience and am so happy with my results. Tamantha and the staff were amazing and made me feel so welcome and comfortable in my decision. I will definitely be back for more procedures in the future!” — Alisha G.

Discover the Beauty of Natural Breast Augmentation in Newport Beach

Dr. Matthew J. Nykiel is a renowned Southern California plastic surgeon with a focus on empowering individual expression. Together with the Butts by Design staff, Dr. Nykiel strives to create a safe and welcoming environment where your desires are heard and an unparalleled level of service is the standard.

To learn more about breast fat grafting, schedule a consultation with Dr. Nykiel. We offer convenient options, including in-person consultations at our Newport Beach and Upland locations and virtual consultations from the comfort of your own home. Book your appointment online or call 949-416-0038 to speak with a member of our team.