Breast Implants vs. Fat Transfer


In an ideal world, you could transfer fat we don’t want to areas where you would like a little extra volume. This is probably why many women ask us if fat transfer is a safe and effective way to enlarge their breasts. When weighing the choice between breast implants vs. fat transfer, fat transfer falls short despite its notable advantages.

We understand the allure of this option, but unfortunately, the technology just isn’t there. Breast implants are the better option for most people. Please remember this article is purely for your education and not intended as a substitute for personalized medical advice.

Practical and Aesthetic Considerations

We understand the allure of using your body fat to enhance your breasts. After all, it is your tissue; in theory, it would look and feel like natural breasts. Also, it may seem like an effective way to resculpt your proportions by taking unwanted fat from a problem area like your abdomen and transferring it to your breasts. However, this doesn’t work as well as you might imagine.

Doctors who perform fat grafting for breast augmentation typically only enlarge by one cup size. If using your body fat to enhance your breasts, you would most likely need multiple sessions with your plastic surgeon to inject enough fat to get the volume. Your body’s ability to take the fat is unpredictable; some may get reabsorbed and released. Not only that, but even once enough fat does take, weight loss could cause your body to release it.

The upside to implants is you can choose your breast implant size, and it only takes one operation to place them. It’s safer and more practical to undergo just one operation rather than a series of operations. The results are also more predictable and consistent.

Custom-made Results

With today’s breast implant options, you can choose the size that best suits your frame. It’s important to know the difference between saline and silicone breast implants. Whether you prefer saline implants or traditional silicone implants, you can decide the size you want. The different options also help determine the shape. This level of control just isn’t possible for fat transfer breast augmentation.

Augmentation and implants are well-tested and popular procedures. The implants are placed underneath the breast tissue, either in front of or behind the muscle on the chest. Your plastic surgeon will walk you through the different types of breast implants options.

Health Reasons Why Implants Are a Better Option

Some people are interested in using their body fat because they imagine it is healthier and safer. Yes, there is less risk of your body rejecting the fat, but it may not be more beneficial when you think of it more holistically.

Breast implants have been around since the 1960s and are generally safe and FDA-approved. Some have concerns about rupture or capsular contracture, but the risk is low, especially when current standards are carefully followed. Also, fat transfer breast augmentation isn’t without its potential problems.

One problem with using body fat transfer breast augmentation is it can make it harder to detect early signs of breast cancer through exams and mammograms. If the implanted fat doesn’t get enough blood supply, it will calcify, meaning small calcium deposits will develop and form benign cysts.

These deposits show up on a mammogram and would raise concerns. Typically calcification is sometimes considered a marker for breast cancer, the deposits don’t turn cancerous, but they can be a sign of changes, including developing cancer. It can lead to confusing mammogram results and unnecessary biopsies to ensure cancer isn’t present.

Your peace of mind is well worth the implants since they don’t interfere with your mammogram. As long as the technician knows your implants, they can accommodate them.

Breast Implants vs. Fat Transfer: Pros and Cons

While we have already touched on the main advantages and disadvantages, it may help if we recap. The benefits of fat transfer over implants include:

  • Accomplish modest body contouring at the same time as subtle breast enhancement
  • Since your fat isn’t foreign material, there is less risk of an adverse reaction
  • Natural-looking results since breasts naturally contain fat
  • No chance of rupture or leakage

The disadvantages of fat transfer compared to implants include:

  • You can’t precisely control the volume added to your breasts as you can with implants; it could take multiple sessions to get the volume most people want.
  • Some of the fat won’t take and will get reabsorbed by the body, and the results can be unpredictable.
  • There is a risk of calcification which can make mammograms less effective.
  • Fewer board-certified plastic surgeons perform this procedure due to some of the downsides.
  • Most likely, you are limited to enlarging by one cup size or less.
  • Results may change if you gain or lose weight in the future.

In contrast, implants are easy to customize to your specific aesthetic goals. They are generally safe, FDA-approved, and won’t interfere with mammograms. If you are old enough and keep up with your annual follow-up exams and mammograms, any issues are usually caught early.

When weighing choices like this, your best bet is to book a consultation with a top board certified plastic surgeon who can help you navigate your options. Every procedure has pros and cons and isn’t suitable for every individual. During your consultation, your doctor will want to learn about your aesthetic goals, medical history, lifestyle, and concerns.

We don’t recommend fat transfer enhancement over implants at Charlotte Plastic Surgery because implants give better results and are safe and well-tested on balance. If you opt for implants, your surgeon will help you decide which type of breast implant to choose

We have served the Charlotte area for decades. Whether you want breast augmentation, breast reduction, a breast lift, or another procedure, we can help you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.