PATIENT RESOURCES / DR’s Blog

The Many Myths About Fat Grafting

by | Breast Fat Transfer

There are many myths about fat grafting to the breast. I perform a lot of fat grafting procedures and I hear about them at my office all the time. So let’s go over some of myths now and try to clear them up:

1. MYTH: Fat will disappear.

FACT: The process of fat grafting requires harvest from another site, followed by processing, and finally injection. During the procedure some fat cells can be damaged. While the goal is to remove all liquid (injected to minimize pain and bleeding), blood, and non-viable fat cells, some will still be injected. On top of that, even some perfectly good fat cells will not obtain proper blood supply in the breast. So not all of the volume injected is actually healthy fat cells that get good blood supply. That which isn’t gets absorbed by your body, leaving you with the healthy fat that did survive. In addition, you will have swelling from the procedure that will take time to settle. The fat that you have at a couple of months though is likely to be permanent. If, however, your weight goes up or down, so too will the size of your breasts.

2. MYTH: Fat grafting is an easy surgery.

FACT: Fat grafting has many benefits over implants, but is a longer and more technically demanding procedure. Every step of the way needs to be done meticulously, or the fat survival rate will go down. It is time consuming and takes a lot of patience on your surgeon’s part. Not all surgeons have the patience to get the ideal result. If they are not willing to place the fat drop-by-drop, the result will be limited.

3. MYTH: Fat cannot increase the size of the breast very much.

FACT: Because of the importance of blood supply, you can essentially double the size of the breast at the time of surgery. If you over-exceed that amount, the fat will not have good blood supply, and may not survive as well. After resorption of fluid and cessation of swelling, you can expect a 50-60% larger breast than pre-surgery. If a second surgery is done, you can inject even more than the first time, leaving your final volume 2-2.5x larger than when you started if all goes well.

4. MYTH: Fat grafting and implants are never done together.

FACT: Fat grafting is an amazing technique to use in conjunction with an implant. Although many patients do not need this, it can conceal the edge of an implant really well in thinner patients. This provides patients with a full, yet still natural looking and feeling result. It is also great for enhancing cleavage in patients with wide set breasts. However, very few surgeons do this. It is only done by surgeons with a very specialized interest in both breast surgery and fat transfer. With all that being said, I have done it countless times and the results can be amazing.

5. MYTH: Fat will leave me with lumps or dents.

FACT: Fat grafting can provide amazing looking results that are natural looking and feeling. However, the process MUST be done very carefully. If too much fat is placed, or if it is done without precision, then you will have a much higher chance of fat loss or oil cysts. You must go to a surgeon that has a very specialized interest in fat transfer. Not all surgeons provide great results with fat transfer. It is not as straight forward as placing an implant.

7. MYTH: Fat transfer is better than implants.

FACT: There is no perfect surgery. I spend a lot of time over several visits with my patients helping them come to the best plan for them. Fat transfer is great, as there are virtually no scars, you get to treat a "problem" area with liposuction, and the results are very natural. However, it does not do as well to increase volume when you desire a much larger breast. It also does not enhance the shape of the breast as well as an implant in someone with a less pretty shape to begin with. Your surgeon should go over the pros and cons of all your choices and help you decide which is the best for you.

8. MYTH: Fat grafting can be done in anyone.

FACT: Although fat grafting can be done in anyone, not everyone is an ideal candidate. You need to have enough fat to harvest to make it worthwhile. Sometimes the only fat people have is in the buttocks. Not all patients want to give up volume in their buttocks. You also need to have a place to put it. If you are so thin that there is little space to place the fat, you may need more than one surgery. Remember, you can double the size of the breast at the time of surgery, leaving you 50%-60% larger in the end. With a second surgery, you can put a fair bit more fat than the first, leaving you up to 2-2.5 times larger than when you started. For some patients, they may simply do better with an implant and some fat grafting to conceal it well.

9. MYTH: There is only one perfect technique.

FACT: Many surgeons that do a lot of fat grafting use very different techniques for how they harvest the fat and how they process it. So long as care is taken to minimize injury to fat, there are lots of ways of doing these steps. What virtually all surgeons agree on is that fat must be carefully placed and you must not exceed the maximum volume. You have to be a perfectionist to get the best possible result from breast fat transfer.

If you are interested in booking a consultation for breast fat transfer or breast implants, please contact Dr. Rodger Shortt to arrange an appointment at 905-849-4282 or info(at)drshortt.com.

Dr Rodger Shortt is a plastic surgeon servicing Toronto, Oakville, Mississauga, Burlington, Milton, Hamilton and Georgetown. He strives to provide his patients the best care and excellent plastic surgery results. He is one of only a few plastic surgeons in Canada with a top rating on RateMD, RealSelf and Ontario Doctor Review. Dr Rodger Shortt is a specialist plastic surgeon trained in cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery. He specializes in breast surgery, breast augmentation, breast fat transfer, mommy makeover, tummy tuck, body contouring, breast reconstruction and cosmetic surgery of the face. He is the Director of Cosmetic Surgery Training at McMaster University and an Assistant Clinical Professor.

Testimonials

Huge Breasts Be Gone!

Absolutely hands down the best! Dr Shortt is very skilled and has a warm, caring personality along with a sense of humour:) You are in the best hands should you choose Dr. Shortt. Thank you Dr Shortt and Joanne for making this a great experience!

He is a masterful surgeon and he has exceeded my expectations.

Dr. Shortt performed breast reduction/tummy tuck surgery and I am very happy with the results. He is a masterful surgeon and he has exceeded my expectations. I’m a 64 yr. old woman who has lived with shoulder and back pain for years. I decided to have a breast reduction in the hope of easing this discomfort and improving my quality of life in retirement. I was able to discuss questions and concerns easily with Dr. Shortt. He has a quiet, kind manner , complemented by a good sense of humour. I would not hesitate to recommend Dr. Shortt to my family and friends. The office staff are also very professional, friendly and helpful.

Dr Shortt is talented, trustworthy, and kind.

Dr Shortt was has been incredible! I went to him in search of options for correctly my breast asymmetry. I read a lot of reviews for plastic surgeons in and around Toronto and I chose Dr Shortt because his reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Initially, I was interested in fat grafting because I feared an implant would be obvious. At my consultation, Dr Shortt explained the advantages and disadvantages of both options. His opinion was that an implant would actually be the better choice because breast augmentation with an implant is much more predictable and due to the difference in my breasts, I would probably need multiple sessions of fat grafting, which would get quite expensive. After the consultation, I understood why an implant would be the better choice for me and my body. He wrote a letter on my behalf advocating that my surgery be covered by OHIP, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, and they agreed to cover it! I really appreciated that Dr Shortt was honest about what he thought would make me the most happy (an implant in one side), not what would make him the most money (multiple sessions of fat grafting). Throughout the whole process, he was patient, understanding, and confident. His sense of humour put me at ease on surgery day and I couldn’t be happier with the results of my surgery. I didn’t want bigger breasts, just more symmetrical ones and he managed to balance me out beautifully without even touching my bigger left breast. My surgery was three weeks ago and except for the scar (which is healing beautifully) you can’t even tell I had surgery. My new breast looks and feels great and I can’t stop buying pretty new bras now that any bra will work for me. I can’t wait for bikini season! Dr Shortt is talented, trustworthy, and kind. As soon as you meet him, you’ll see that he truly cares about your happiness. Thank you, Dr Shortt!

I would 100% recommend Dr. Shortt and his staff to anyone who is considering breast reconstruction surgery.

I would 100% recommend Dr. Shortt and his staff to anyone who is considering breast reconstruction surgery. Dr. Shortt is a very knowledgeable, thorough and compassionate surgeon. i
felt comfortable with him from the first consultation appointment. He answered every question we had and was never in a rush. I am very grateful to Dr. Shortt for his expertise and his skills for making me feel like a whole woman again
Thank you so much !!

My experience with Dr. Shortt was great.

My experience with Dr. Shortt was great. I highly recommend Dr Shortt if you are considering any surgery. He did my breast reconstruction twice and each was very professional . He also took care of me after that so no concerns.

He was thorough, professional and clearly is the expert in his field.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr. Shortt for my initial assessment this week. My appointment was not only on time, but they were able to accommodate my early arrival. Dr. Shortt was a delight. He immediately put me at ease and was not in a rush. He was thorough, professional and clearly is the expert in his field. This is my second assessment and and I very happy that I held out for this referral.

Thank You Dr. Shortt

I wish I had had a breast reduction sooner; the improvement in how I feel physically and mentally is simply amazing. I could repeat so much of what others have said about Dr. Shortt; he is professional, knowleable and is quick with a funny quip when needed. I appreciate and am so grateful for his skill as a surgeon/artist. Joanne is always friendly and helpful and I appreciate her time in scheduling my surgery. Most definately recommend this Dr. Shortt and his team!

Feel and look better than ever before.


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