Fat Grafting for Augmentation and Reconstruction

May 6, 2014



shutterstock_135543431Fat grafting is becoming a popular option for both breast augmentation and reconstruction. A patient’s own fat can be used to increase the size of their breasts as well as help improve the shape and appearance of the breasts in patients who have had their breasts reconstructed after mastectomy. At Physician’s Clinic of Iowa Plastic Surgery, Dr. Kahlil Andrews has performed numerous fat grafting procedures to the breast providing patients with an option that improves the shape, size and appearance of the breast with a patient’s own tissue.

What is Fat Grafting?
Fat grafting involves removal of fat cells from one area of the patient’s body via liposuction. The fat that is removed is processed by a device that purifies the fat preparing it for transfer to areas that require correction of contour defects or to areas that need volume augmentation. Frequent donor sites include the abdomen, hips and flanks. Fat grafting is frequently used to enhance the appearance of the face, breast or buttocks. Another benefit of fat grafting is that the contour and fullness of the donor site is also improved through the liposuction performed to harvest the fat for grafting.

Benefits of Fat Grafting

  • Uses a patient’s own tissue, rather than synthetic devices
  • It can be repeated until full correction is achieved
  • Patient enjoys the added benefit of fat reduction and contour improvement at the fat donor sites

Although fat grafting is an effective procedure with many potential benefits, it is not for everyone. The procedure tends to be more expensive than implant surgery. Also, some patients have insufficient fatty deposits, harvesting fat from these areas can produce contour defects, which are often hard to correct.

Tissue Expansion with Brava 
One technique that has greatly improved the ability to use fat transfer to the breast for both augmentation and reconstruction is the Brava. The Brava is an external tissue expander. The device is worn on the breast prior to the fat grafting procedure. It’s use increases the blood flow to the breast and creates spaces into which the fat can be deposited. Use of the Brava has been associated with more fat survival and allows a larger amount of fat to be transferred to the breast with each grafting procedure.

Although effective, the Brava device adds cost to the procedure and it can be quite cumbersome to use since most protocols require use for a large part of the day.

To learn more about this innovative procedure and if it is right for you, contact Dr. Andrews’ staff at Physician’s Clinic of Iowa, Plastic Surgery at 319-382-8230.


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