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Fat Transfer vs Breast Implants

Medically reviewed by Mr. Omar Tillo MD, MS, EBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast)

Breast augmentation is the most common cosmetic surgery performed on women. With the right surgical techniques, the treatment can create natural-looking breasts that are proportionate to your figure. There are two ways surgeons can add volume to your breasts — fat transfer and breast implants —  which we will discuss below.

What Are Breast Implants?

Breast implants are made of medical-grade silicone or saline and are available in many shapes and sizes, enabling the surgeon to customise the surgery to produce your desired results.

Procedure

Breast implant surgery takes between 1-2 hours to perform under sedation or general anaesthesia. Depending on the nature of your implant, the surgeon will make incisions under the breast crease, beneath the nipples, or in the underarm. Afterwards, depending on the thickness of your breast tissue, they will insert the implant over, under, or partly over and under the pectoralis major muscle. Finally, after securing the implants, the surgeon closes the incisions with sutures.

Before and Afters

Breast Implant Cost

The cost of breast implants at the CREO Clinic starts from £6,900. The price can vary depending on the surgical complexity of your procedure. You will receive the exact cost of your cosmetic treatment after a consultation with our plastic surgeon. 

Breast Implant Recovery

After your surgery, you will experience swelling, soreness, and discomfort around your breasts, which should begin to subside in a few days. Most patients can return to office work and light activities after 1-2 weeks following their surgery and resume more strenuous exercises after six weeks. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication and other aftercare instructions to help manage your recovery.

Results

After your breast implant treatment, your breasts will appear larger and sit higher than expected due to the swelling and pressure on your chest. However, your chest muscles will relax in a few days, after which the implants will settle into a natural position. You can appreciate the final volume and contouring effects after the residual swelling dissipates, which can take 3-4 months. After this period, your breasts will look and feel natural.

What is a Fat Transfer?

A fat transfer is a surgery that adds volume to one area of the body by injecting fat cells that the surgeon extracts from other locations through liposuction. Thus, fat transfer breast augmentation is another method our surgeons use to enhance and reshape the breasts.

Procedure

A fat transfer procedure takes 2-3 hours under sedation or general anaesthesia. The surgeon starts by performing liposuction on a targeted area, such as the abdomen, which involves inserting a suction cannula through tiny incisions. Once the surgeon extracts the fat, it is purified and prepared for injection. Finally, they inject the fat into the breast to create your desired results.

Before and Afters

Fat Transfer Cost

The cost of fat transfer to the breasts at CREO Clinic starts from £7,900. Prices may vary depending on the number of liposuction treatment areas you require and the surgical complexity of your procedure. You will receive the exact cost of your treatment after a consultation with our plastic surgeon.

Fat Transfer Recovery

After your surgery, you will experience swelling, soreness, and bruising around your breasts and liposuction areas. These symptoms should dissipate in 1-2 weeks, after which most patients feel able to return to work and light daily activities. You should wait until 4-6 weeks after the surgery before resuming more strenuous activities. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication and other aftercare instructions to help manage your recovery.

Results

Your breasts will appear enhanced immediately after the surgery, and the liposuctioned areas will appear slimmer. However, the final fat transfer results will become apparent after the swelling dissipates and the fat grafts settle, which takes around 3-6 months. 

During this period, your body will absorb 30-50% of the fat grafts, causing the breasts to lose volume. However, the surgeon accounts for this loss by injecting the maximum amount of fat that the breast can hold. After this period, your breasts will appear enhanced and feel natural. You can expect to see the final results of the liposuction surgery after 6-12 weeks.

Pros and Cons of Breast Implants

Below we outline the pros and cons of breast implants.

Pros

  • Breast implants can add significant volume to the breasts, making them ideal for women who have small breasts or less volume in their breasts due to breastfeeding, ageing, or weight loss. 
  • Breast implants are available in different shapes and sizes, enabling the surgeon to customise the procedure to create results proportionate to the rest of your body. 
  • A skilled plastic surgeon can often create a natural-looking and feeling result with implants by choosing the right implants and surgical techniques based on the patient’s anatomy. 
  • Implants are long-lasting, with most women enjoying their results for 10-15 years.

Cons

  • Breast implants require a more invasive surgery compared to fat transfer. As such, you will have visible scarring under the creases of your breasts and require more downtime. 
  • Although rare, implants can leak or burst if you suffer significant trauma to the chest. 
  • Although implants are permanent, most women have them replaced or removed in 10-15 years due to capsular contracture (hardening of scar tissue around the implant), the implants wearing or rupturing, or results altering with age.

Pros and Cons of Fat Transfers

Below we outline the pros and cons of fat transfers.

Pros

  • With fat transfer, you won’t need to worry about whether your breasts will look and feel natural as the surgery uses your fat to add volume. Once the fat grafts settle, they will become a natural part of your breasts. 
  • In addition to enhancing your breasts, you can sculpt excess fat in other areas of your body with liposuction. 
  • The procedure entails minimal scarring as both the liposuction and fat transfer procedures require tiny incisions a few millimetres long. 
  • Fat transfer offers permanent results. As a result, you won’t need to worry about the complications from having implants.

Cons

  • The enhancement from a fat transfer is limited, with most women experiencing an increase in one cup size. For more volume, you will need to repeat the procedure, which depends on the availability of body fat.  
  • Fat transfer does not provide any lift to the breasts, unlike implants which usually make the breasts appear perkier and more youthful.
  • A fat transfer typically costs more than implants, as the surgeon must perform liposuction as well as fat injections.

Does a Fat Transfer or Breast Implant Feel More Natural?

Typically, fat transfer provides a more natural feel as it doesn’t require the insertion of foreign material and provides less volume. However, if performed correctly, implants should also feel natural. 

When placing the implants, our surgeons take great care to conceal them with your breast tissue or muscle. Furthermore, although saline implants can create a visible rippling effect, silicone implants provide a more natural look and feel that mimics the shape and feel of the breasts.

Which Procedure Is Best?

The best procedure for you will depend on your cosmetic goals. The amount of volume you want, the availability of body fat, the shape of your breasts, along with a range of other factors will inform which procedure is best for you. Our plastic surgeon will walk you through your options and advise you on the most suitable treatment for you. 

Usually, our surgeons can create the best results by combining both implants and fat transfer with a procedure known as composite breast augmentation. By combining both methods, patients can achieve the most natural look and feel, along with the other benefits of both options listed above.

Combining Fat Transfer and Breast Implants

Benefits

  • Women who lack enough body fat to provide the maximum enhancement from a fat transfer or lack enough breast tissue to conceal the implants can get substantial volume and natural results. 
  • Composite breast augmentation allows the surgeon to maximise your cleavage, as breast implants don’t add volume to the upper part of the breasts. 
  • Surgeons can improve the shape of uneven breasts with more precision by using composite breast augmentation. 
  • If the results of your breast implants have diminished with age, surgeons can use fat grafts to alter the size and shape of your breasts to restore results.

Procedure

To perform a composite breast augmentation procedure, the surgeon will start by making an incision, usually under the crease below the breast. Afterwards, they will position the implant above the pectoral muscle. Next, they will proceed with the fat transfer procedure. 

After performing liposuction, the surgeon will inject the fat just above the implant, thereby concealing the borders of the implant. Depending on the availability of fat, the surgeon may inject fat over the entire breast, which will produce the most natural result. In this case, the surgeon may use a smaller implant, as using your own fat tissue provides a longer-lasting result.

Cost

Composite breast augmentation at the CREO Clinic starts from £8,900. The exact cost will depend on the number of liposuction treatments areas and the surgical complexity of your procedure. You will receive the price of your treatment after a consultation with our plastic surgeon.

Recovery

The recovery timeline for composite breast augmentation is similar to having implants and fat transfer. Most patients can return to office work and light activities in 1-2 weeks and more strenuous activities in 6 weeks. You will receive a detailed aftercare plan to minimise discomfort and preserve your results.

Results

The final results of your surgery will emerge 3-6 months after the procedure. By this time, the residual swelling will dissipate, your fat grafts will settle, and the skin will stretch to accommodate the implants and fat cells. After this process, your breasts will look and feel natural, more enhanced and contoured, and any asymmetries will have improved.

Schedule a Consultation at Creo Clinic Today

Dr Omar Tillo performs all breast augmentation procedures at the CREO Clinic, specialising in the surgery alongside a range of other body contouring procedures. 

Having performed breast augmentation on hundreds of patients with implants, fat transfer, and a combination of both, he has mastered the expertise and skills required to produce natural results for each patient. In particular, he is one of few surgeons in the UK offering the advanced composite breast augmentation technique that produces superior results. 

If you are interested in having a breast augmentation procedure, schedule a consultation with Dr Tillo at the CREO Clinic to discuss a bespoke surgical solution.

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