*Actual Banff Plastic Surgery Patient
Photo not specific to procedure
Is Fat Grafting Right for You?
The Right Procedure
Fat grafting is an emerging procedure in Plastic Surgery, and its applications are growing both in Canada and around the world. Drs.Hall-Findlay and MacLennan have been using fat grafting as part of their practice for many years, and Dr. MacLennan has travelled to Miami, FL, to learn the most up-to-date techniques from one of the world leaders in fat grafting.
The procedure begins with liposuction of the “donor” areas using a thin cannula with multiple small holes along its length. The fat is gently prepared in a centrifuge, in order to separate any ruptured cells or fluid. The fat is then prepared for re-injection, using very thin cannulas that are used to carefully deposit the fat into your tissue. The most important technical aspect of fat grafting is this careful reinjection, where thin ribbons or “dots” of fat are placed exactly where needed, allowing us to “plump” the tissue without creating lumps.
Fat grafting has proven to be very useful in filling the upper slope of the breast and cleavage area in conjunction with breast lift and reconstruction. It’s now possible to combine fat grafting and breast implants in order to provide additional padding over an implant if you have minimal tissue to work with. Finally, we now can offer breast augmentation with fat alone in certain women who desire only a modest increase in breast volume.
The Right Patient
It goes without saying that in order to be a good candidate for fat grafting, you must have some fat to borrow! A nice benefit of fat grafting is the contour improvement in the areas where liposuction is performed. However, we are limited in just how much sculpting can be done in the donor areas if we are to ensure a natural result.
For women who are considering breast augmentation with fat alone, it is very important to have realistic expectations regarding how much volume can be added. The best candidates are women with good breast shape and skin quality who are looking to increase their breast size by one-half to one cup size. Women who want a larger increase or who have sagging breast tissue will probably need to consider implants or other procedures. In addition, some women find that they need more than one stage of fat grafting to achieve their desired results.
In our breast lift patients who desire more fullness in the upper part of the breast, but really prefer to avoid an implant, fat graft can be a good alternative.
The Right Reasons
Fat grafting can be a great option for women who would prefer to avoid breast implants, since the tissue is your own and doesn’t require maintenance. However, there are limits to what can be achieved with fat grafting, and therefore it’s important that we have great communication so that we can understand what is important to you and conversely, we can help you understand what we can and can’t do with fat grafting.
The Right Time
Recovery from fat grafting alone is quite straightforward and often a bit quicker than some of our other breast procedures. The incisions are very small, but you will be sore from the liposuction and we may ask that you wear a supportive elastic garment to help manage swelling. Most women can return to a desk job after 1-1/2 weeks and to exercise after 3-4 weeks. If you are having fat grafting along with another procedure, remember that there may be recovery guidelines for that other procedure. The grafted area will be swollen, lumpy and bruised for a few days to a few weeks.
Let us answer your questions
For years, our patients have asked us “Can’t you take some extra fat from somewhere I don’t want it and put it somewhere that I do want it?” Fat grafting to the breast has come a long way in the past few years, and is a hot topic in Plastic Surgery research. Fat grafting can now be a helpful technique as part of breast reconstruction, in addition to cosmetic implants or breast lifts, and in certain cases, instead of breast implants for breast enhancement. After a detailed discussion of your goals and a careful examination, we can help you decide if fat grafting makes sense as part of your treatment plan.