Fat Transfer to the Breasts

fat_transferFat Transfer

Fat-transfer (also known as Fat grafting or Liposfilling) is used as an alternative to implants to enhance the size of the the breasts. Moving unwanted fats from another area to the breasts makes logical sense. After all, the breast is mainly fat and glandular tissue.

This “Fat transfer to the Breasts” procedure involves harvesting fat from another area, cleaning and filtering the fat cells and re-grafting it back to the breasts. Which makes it a liposuction-type surgical procedure. This done in a Day Surgery OT under sedation by an anaesthetist.

The recovery is not unlike that of a typical liposuction procedure. Some soreness at both the donor site and the breasts is to be expected for a couple of days after the procedure. Most patients can go about activities the very next day, just a bit slower because of the soreness. There is no real need for bed rest.

Moving the fat from one place to another is really an autologous “tissue transplant” procedure. It’s success hinges on many factors which includes:

1) The handling of the fat – the gentler the fat cells are handled throughout, the better the survival rate. This in turn depends on the method of liposuction (Vaser, Microaire, Waterjet etc), the cleaning process (eg. Revolve by Allergan), or the micronization process (eg Tulip). Micronization is important because fat cells beyond a certain diameter tends not to survive in the new environment. Oxygen needs to diffuse into the cell in lieu of blood supply being established.

2) The amount transferred – this is really a situation where less is more. In the past when doctors injected large amounts of fat back into the breasts, most of the transplanted fat cells die off. The incidence of oil cysts correlates with larger volume transfers. After all, the blood supply to the area will only be enough support a certain amount of grafted fat. From experience we know that about 150mls on each side is optimum for a girl of average body frame. By re-injecting around 150mls on each side, we can optimise graft survival rates and minimise the formation of oil cysts.

Some of the grafted fat will resorb over about a 1-month period. About 100-120mls remaining for the long term, this translates to about 1 cup size up in an average size girl. This transplanted fat will behave like the fat from the donor site, be it the thighs or the abdomen. It will expand when the patient puts on weight and shrink during periods of severe weight loss. So good results also hinges on the patient not losing too much weight suddenly.

Minimally manipulated micronized fat cells using the Tulip system


Methods and techniques have improved over the years. Results are now more predictable and long lasting.

Who benefits most? If co-incidentally you are thinking of having a liposuction and would not mind a mild 1 cup size boost, then fat transfer to the breasts would be the obvious alternative to a silicone breast implant. You get to “recycle” your fat.

Who wouldn’t benefit? If you are expecting 2-3 cup size increases, you will be a bit disappointed. You would be better off going for implants.

Who cannot do this procedure? Very thin individuals with hardly any fat.

David Loh Surgery is an aesthetic clinic in Singapore that is MOH accredited to perform office based liposuction. Dr David Loh also operates at Novena Day Surgery. Dr David Loh performs liposuction using VASER and has been high definition Vaser Liposelection accredited since 2008. He performs fat transfer to the breasts in Novena Day Surgery. Fat grafting (or fat transfer) to the face can be done in the clinic under local anaesthetic.