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

Absolutely hands down the best!

Absolutely hands down the best! Dr Shortt is very skilled surgeon and has a warm, caring personality along with a sense of humour which will keep you at ease throughout the whole process. You are in the best hands should you choose Dr. Shortt. Thank you Dr Shortt and Joanne for making my surgical journey a great experience!

It’s Been 28 Years …

I was reviewing breast transfer procedures on real self. Dr. Shorrt had comment on a previous post. I checked out his profile/website and decided to go for a consultation. I was glad that he actually conducted the consultation. I’ve been to one where the Dr.’s assistant did the initial one. He was very easy to talk , to express your concerns. He was very knowledge. Some doctors are in rush to explain things. “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” . I felt very comfortable right away. I knew I wanted him to be my surgeon.

All in all I can not say enough good things about my experience with both Dr. Shortt and his staff

Dr Short t was my surgeon for breast reduction, tummy tuck, bra-line back lift and panniculectomy. I was at ease upon our first meeting. I felt he genuinely was on my side and interested in my well being. Although the surgeries I have undergone have been major , the pain was surprisingly minor. I have had excellent recoveries and shockingly minimal scaring. I could not be more satisfied with having been his patient. I did some research about plastic surgery and costs were in line with others. All in all I can not say enough good things about my experience with both Dr. Shortt and his staff

Thankful for High Standards

I had lost an excessive amount of weight. After success in living a healthier lifestyle I found that the extra skin impacted my health in other ways. Dr Short completed a Belt Lipectomy.
My experience through the consultation visits and pre and post surgery was very positive!
Dr. Shortt was detailed with my questions leaving nothing to my imagination, defining the realities I would experience throughout the process. He was specific through the preparatory work that needed to happen and made me feel connected and comfortable with the procedure.
Dr. Shortt is professional, extremely knowledgeable as a plastic surgeon, and has the ability to communicate to people with clarity during each appointment!
I have also appreciated the office environment and connections with Joanne as she answered my questions with efficiency and genuine care.
Dr. Shortt is highly skilled in what he does, and he has the character of caring and valuing as he speaks with you. Dr. Shortt wants great results for each person and sets a very high standard, in which I am grateful!
I am really happy with the whole process from start to finish and excited about the outcome of having this surgery!
Thank you Dr. Shortt!

I had a bump on my thumb removed by Dr Shortt a few years ago.

I had a bump on my thumb removed by Dr Shortt a few years ago. It was e third time I’d had it removed, as it kept growing back, but since Dr Shortt removed it, it hasn’t returned!

I’m very pleased with the results of my explant surgery.

Dr Shortt was recommended to me for my explant surgery. I was informed he was the best surgeon for the job and that I would be very happy with the results.
We met on a couple of occasions before the surgery and discussed the options of new implants, fat grafting or just an explant. He was courteous, respectful and very knowledgeable.
He respected my decision to just have the explant surgery and didn’t try to sell me on other procedures. He is all about what’s best for his patients. When I had my pre-op at the hospital, the intake nurse couldn’t say enough wonderful things about him and his skills. That solidified it for me.
I’m very pleased with the results of my explant surgery. It was a unique case in that the implants had completely liquified. They were done 8 years ago by another recommended surgeon in Burlington, not Dr Shortt himself. It seems they were just defective.
Dr. Shortt noted that he had never seen any implants come out in that condition. I appreciate that he is following up with the manufacturer to inform them of the situation.
if you are choosing implants, please do your research and educate yourself and if you choose to have them done, Dr. Shortt is your guy.

Dr. Shortt is a true professional, with an amazing bedside manner.

Recently I had Dr Shortt remove a large lump from the back of my leg. His genuinely friendly manner immediately put me at ease.
In the hospital, he explained how the procedure was going to work, which made me feel comfortable. The actual procedure took less than 5 minutes, with no pain. I was completely relaxed, knowing I was in good hands. Dr. Shortt is a true professional, with an amazing bedside manner. I’d trust him to do absolutely any surgical procedure and would feel confident that the outcome would be very successful.

Feel and look better than ever before.


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