Research shows transplanted fat is a good filler and readily incorporated into the tissues. When taken from the patient’s own body, the fat is completely biocompatible and won’t be rejected. Most patients have more than a sufficient supply of donor fat.
Early attempts at fat grafting for the breast were often not very successful. In many cases, the transplanted fat cells died and were absorbed back into the body, erasing the results of the augmentation. There were also concerns about the development of cysts or calcifications that could mimic breast cancer or interfere with the ability to detect the cancer. Now, using refined techniques, some surgeons are having more successful results.
Plastic Surgeon Roger Khouri, M.D., is offering fat grafting for breast augmentation to his patients. He recommends that prior to the transplant, the breasts be prepared with a device called the BRAVA® Breast Enhancement and Shaping System.
BRAVA consists of two dome-shaped bra cups connected to a small computerized battery pack. The system, worn for 10 hours a day, gently and rhythmically tugs or pulls on the breasts. Khouri explains the process creates extra space for the transplanted fat. After two weeks of wearing the BRAVA device, the patient comes into the office for the fat grafting. Khouri removes the fat. Then using syringes, he injects small amounts of fat into the space created by BRAVA therapy - under the breast tissue or into the space between the breast and the skin.
With time, some of the fat cells die. However, with the refined techniques, doctors are seeing much higher rates of graft survival, often as much as 80 to 90 percent. Final results of the procedure can be seen after about three to four months. Khouri says fat grafting won’t provide the same amount of enlargement as breast implants. In most cases, the procedure will enhance the breasts by only one or two cup sizes. So women who are looking for larger breasts will still need to use breast implants.
While more physicians are reporting successful use of fat grafting, experts are divided over its use. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery still advise against fat grafting for breast enhancement until safety of the procedure can be better established.
The BRAVA® Breast Enhancement and Shaping System was invented by Khouri who continues to financially benefit from sales of the device. The FDA has granted clearance for BRAVA as an unregulated device (i.e., it can be sold without approval). For information about the BRAVA® Breast Enhancement and Shaping System: http://www.brava.com/home.asp