Oct. 26 -- Breast lifts can raise, shape, and firm sagging breasts. If a woman wants to add volume, she may need to get breast implants too, but fat injections can also do the trick, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) in Seattle.
The ASPS and its sister organization, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, state that fat injections to the breast can be used to enhance breast appearance after reconstruction or to soften the appearance of implants, but the groups don't yet recommend fat injections for cosmetic augmentation.
In the new study, all 46 women who received fat injections in their breast after a breast lift showed improvements in the size and shape of their breasts after one year. The breasts were soft and had a natural look and feel, says researcher Kamran Khoobehi, MD, a plastic surgeon in Metairie, La.
Injecting fat from the buttocks, thighs, or other body areas where it is more plentiful into the breasts has been mired in controversy. There were concerns that the fat may calcify and obscure readings on breast X-rays for mammograms or possibly be mistaken for early breast cancer.
Fat Injections and Mammograms
“There is not an issue at all with imaging of the breast," Khoobehi says. "It is easier to see breast tissue in breasts that were augmented with fat than implants.” In the study, there were no abnormalities seen on mammograms compared to preoperative mammograms. There is also no evidence showing that injecting fat replete with stem cells into the breast will induce the growth of cancer cells, he says.
That’s not to say that fat injections to the breast is for every woman. “The ideal is someone who is older than 30, has had multiple pregnancies and ... just wants a more natural-looking and feeling breast,” he says.
Another study presented here showed that fat taken from the thighs via liposuction may be an alternative to breast implants. The study of 50 women showed that there was an average increase of 210 milliliters of breast volume after 6 to 12 months.