Are breast implants the only way to enhance the size and contour of the female breast?
Effie Katerinaki, Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon, discusses the alternative to breast implants…
In recent years, scientific advances in plastic surgery mean that alternative solutions to breast implants can be offered to women who want to enhance the size and contour of their breasts.
Most ladies who consult with me regarding breast augmentation surgery are very specific; that they want to achieve a natural look, without an excessive degree of fullness and projection in the upper part and cleavage area of their breast.
Many ladies also want to avoid having a silicone implant inserted as they are aware of the high likelihood of repeat procedures at some point in the future. This could be due to a variety of reasons including implant rupture or development of heavy scarring around it (often referred to as capsular contracture).
Nowadays, fat grafting (also known as lipomodelling or fat transfer) provides a natural and long lasting result for the appropriately selected lady who wants to enhance the volume and contour of her breasts.
Fat tissue is harvested by means of liposuction from an area of the body where there is unwanted fat deposits (commonly the abdominal, hip or thigh areas) and inserted into the breast using a special injection cannula. The procedure is performed in the sterile operating theatre environment and can be done under local anaesthetic with sedation.
Fat grafting gives the surgeon the ability to address specific areas of the breast where volume and contour changes are required. Part of the fat will absorb in the first 6 to 8 weeks post-operatively, but in the hands of appropriately trained and experienced plastic surgeons, the largest proportion of the transferred fat will remain in the breast long term as it becomes incorporated in the patient’s own tissues.
Patient’s own fat is the most natural way to augment the breast and most importantly, does not require revision procedures in the future, once the desired result has been achieved. Therefore, the technique gives a permanent and natural looking breast enlargement.
Fat grafting is also a very useful technique when subtle symmetrisation procedures to just one breast are required and the alternative option of using an implant is not appropriate as it will not achieve the desired result.
The procedure has certain limitations, as well as potential risks and complications (like any type of surgery), and should only be performed by surgeons with appropriate training and experience in this field of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.
The main limiting factor of the technique is the availability of fat tissue from the patient herself; not everyone has areas of their body that would benefit from liposuction.
I offer fat grafting regularly in my practice both for cosmetic and for reconstructive breast surgery and I have gained significant experience in performing this operation efficiently and safely.
I have trained in fat grafting during my two breast reconstruction fellowships in the UK and in Canada, prior to my appointment as Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon. During the past six years, (as a full-time consultant), I have gained accreditation by the GMC as a Clinical Supervisor to senior plastic surgery and breast surgery trainees, and have trained numerous junior plastic surgeons in the latest techniques of breast reconstruction including fat grafting.
In summary, fat grafting as an alternative to silicone implants for breast augmentation is a safe technique with low rate of complications in the hands of an experienced Plastic Surgeon. It offers a natural breast appearance with a long lasting result for the appropriately selected and counselled patient.
To book a consultation with Mrs Katerinaki, please call The Westbourne Centre on 0121 456 0897.