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.

6. 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 answer 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. MYTH: Fat transfer costs more than implants.

FACT: Fat transfer is really dependant on the time it will take to harvest, process and transfer the fat. It certainly takes longer than an implant. So there will be more surgical and anaesthetic fees. However, there is no cost of implants which is considerable. In the end the prices are not that different. Choose the best surgery for you based on your goals. Not the cost.

10. MYTH: Fat transfer is a cosmetic procedure.

FACT: Fat transfer has been used in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery for quite a while but has really become much more popular recently. I use it in a number of different settings. For cosmetic purposes I use it for: breast augmentation, when trying to increase size; in a breast lift if I want to increase the fullness in the upper breast without using an implant or when a patient doesn’t want to be too much larger; to create better cleavage during a breast augmentation or a breast lift surgery; to soften the contours of ribs that are prominent; and to conceal a breast implant in a thin patient (without having to lift up the muscle). For breast reconstruction I use it for nearly all the same reasons I just mentioned; but also to conceal the edge of the breast reconstruction, (whether a flap of tissue or implant); to fix lumpectomy defects; to improve upon the quality of radiated tissue, prior or after breast reconstruction; and in some cases, to create a breast entirely from transferred fat.

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.

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.

Reviews

Dr. Shortt preformed a gynecomastia gland removal on me

Dr. Shortt preformed a gynecomastia gland removal on me, I am 20 years old and have been dealing with gynecomastia my whole life, it has caused me alot of pain and discomfort. I am very athletic and fitness is my passion, having these glands affected how I looked cosmetically as well. I was recommended by my doctor to have Dr. Shortt as my surgeon, and I am so happy I was recommended to him. Throughout the process getting ready for my surgery he was extremely knowledgeable and professional providing all the information I needed to know. His staff were very helpful as well and I sent several emails asking questions and always got a reply right away. The surgery itself went really well and I was surprised that there was very little pain following the surgery, I didn’t really need any painkillers. He removed both glands which happened to be quite large from my chest. I saw Dr Shortt for follow up appointments for the first 3 weeks after, we were both extremely happy with how I was healing and the results. In fact, I am blown away by how much better I look, there is no scar at all and no soreness and discomfort like I had before I got the surgery done. I’m impressed, and I haven’t even healed fully yet since I am only 3 weeks out, I am looking forward to the final results because it’s only going to get better from here. This was a life changing surgery for me, I am so pleased I was able to get the opportunity to have such a great surgeon perform it. If you are a male that is looking for a good surgeon to perform this type of surgery, I am confident that you will be beyond happy with what Dr. Shortt can do, I know I was. Thank you.

I highly recommend dr. Shortt, he is very honest.

I highly recommend dr. Shortt, he is very honest. I had a consultation for my son to do his nose he explained everything to us thoroughly and spend enough time with us and answered all our questions.

I had sought a breast reduction to ease the back and neck pain

I had sought a breast reduction to ease the back and neck pain I had endured for years. I had met a few other plastic surgeons over a year period. I had never been comfortable or confident enough to make the decision to have surgery…not until I met with Dr Shortt. I had been afraid of surgery and never felt convinced it was worth it. After my consultation with Dr Shortt , I was excited about how he could help. He made me feel very comfortable. During the initial examination we also spoke about the large deposits of skin and fat under my arms – a constant source of embarrassment and discomfort. I had not worn anything sleeveless in years as they spilled out. He spoke to me about “auxiliary breast tissue removal”. I was thrilled there was something that could be done and both surgeries could be performed together When explaining what the procedure would entail and the recovery time, he spoke with me not at me. He acknowledged my fears and concerns. All my questions had been answered and I knew that surgery was the right decision and he was the right surgeon for me! ( I was so excited about the prospect now that I shared with my daughter now amazing he was – she had also meet other plastic surgeons for implants for herself – she met him and was also so impressed – she had her surgery performed by him as well!) The surgery went well. At all the follow up appointments, he was always timely. You would think being exposed and examined would be uncomfortable, but is wasn’t. He is such a professional and put you at such ease with him that I never had the chance to feel uncomfortable He would exam the areas and scars and instruct how to best take care of them. He shared in my joy and excitement for the difference this had made! I feel better and look better I also want to mention what an amazing team he has as well. Everyone I came into contact with at his office were amazing! I can’t come up with one thing that I feel he could have improved on. Without any hesitation I would, and do, recommend him!

I selected Dr Shortt based on his credentials and experience

At 51 years of age and many, many years of pain, I sought out a Surgeon who would perform for me an OHIP covered Breast Reduction and after a great deal of research, I selected Dr Shortt based on his credentials and experience. Reviewing his past surgery accomplishments, I soon wanted the “Mommy Makeover”. At my first appointment, I was pleasantly surprised by the Dr Shortt’s demeanor. He was found to be very approachable and empathetic. He took the time to explain everything that I needed to know and also answered all of my questions without making it seem a burden. He went through step by step what I would go through during and after my surgery. As a very self-conscious person, he was able to make me feel very comfortable being fully exposed and was professional every step of the way. His Support Staff are all so very courteous and professional. As far as the surgery itself, I would have to say I think that not only is he an excellent Surgeon, he is a Sculptor. I am extremely pleased with the results. The few people that I have shown my stomach and newly formed belly button are astounded at the results. Currently I am 9 weeks post op and feel wonderful and able to go back to the gym. Dr Shortt being a Perfectionist wants another 6mth appt to ensure that I remain am as happy as I am today and that the scarring is as minimal as possible. He has changed my life and I am very grateful. I would and have recommended him to several people already.

I am currently 5 weeks post op and am extremely pleased with my results

I am currently 5 weeks post op and am extremely pleased with my results so far and Dr.Shortt told me if I’m happy with the results so far, wait until I’m finally healed. Dr Shortt is an amazing doctor, his bedside manner is impeccable and at every step of the way he made me feel comfortable and you could tell he genuinely really cared. He took his time to listen to me and my concerns and reassured me he would do his very best, and the results so far are amazing, I am extremely happy and feel amazing. With any big surgery it can be scarey and nervous but Dr.Shortt is very knowledgeable and most of the time had already answered all my questions I had for him and he put me at ease. His staff are amazing to work with too, especially Joanne. Thank you guys, from my very first consult to today you have made this whole experience absolutely amazing. I would highly recommend you definitely go see Dr.Shortt his professionalism and the fact that he actually treats you like a person first shows he really cares.

I am very pleased with the excellent work of Dr. Rodger Shortt

I am very pleased with the excellent work of Dr. Rodger Shortt. His expertise and great manners helped me a lot through the difficult times and multiple operations I went through. As a cancer breast patient, I had two mastectomies for my right and left breasts. Dr. Short joined the surgeon on my second mastectomy and started his wonderful work of inserting the breast tissue expanders. I visited Dr. Shortt’s clinic several times to inject the saline into the breast expanders. During these visits, I appreciated the staff pleasant attitudes and Dr. Shortt recommendations. At the last stage of the process, Dr. Shortt removed the breast expanders and inserted the breast implants and he reconstructed my nipples from my breast skin. I am very pleased with the wonderful job Dr. Shortt has completed. I highly recommend Dr. Shortt and wish him every success with all the patients.

I am so very grateful for all the hard work he did

About 8 years ago I had a lumpectomy leaving my breasts very unbalanced. It has made super uncomfortable about my appearance especially in a bathing suite. Dr. Shortt did an amazing job fixing this. I am so very grateful for all the hard work he did. My girls look like twins instead of cousins. Also, his staff is excellent and caring. I am so happy and recommend him to anyone who needs a good Plastic Surgeon who listens and get the best possible results for his patient.

The above statements are from third party sites.
Dr. Shortt does not control any third party websites and is therefore not responsible for the content of third party sites.
They are provided as a source for your review and discretion.

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