To determine if this is really an option, I did a thorough review of the data and interviewed board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Sean Lille. If you or any of your friends are even thinking about this procedure, be sure to forward them this information.
Di: What is the most important consideration when evaluating fat augmentation to the breasts?
Dr. Lille: “The most serious problem that I have with this procedure is that we do not know the long-term effect on breast cancer. Although there appears to be no short-term increase in breast cancer, we do not know if the stem cells in fat may increase the growth of dormant or active breast cancer cells. I am concerned that since breast cancer occurs in 1 out of every 8 females, this may increase the risk of developing breast cancer in susceptible women.”
Di: How effective is the procedure and does the fat graft last?
Dr. Lille: “ I found that within the last 5 years, there have been studies that demonstrated effective volume maintenance for up to 5 years following fat grafting; however, in best case scenarios, ONLY a 250 cc increase in volume increase can be expected. Therefore, you can expect going up less than a cup size.”
Di: What are some of the additional considerations such as patient satisfaction and cost?
Dr. Lille: “The amount of time it takes to do the procedure is twice the time as compared to a standard silicone or saline implant breast augmentation and costs more. So even if the cancer risks prove to be a non-factor, the amount of breast volume increase does not satisfy the 95% of my patients who desire to be 1.5 to 2 cup sizes greater. In most patients, I fill implants to 375cc or larger.”
Di: Do you see any potential place for this procedure?
Dr. Lille: “Where I see the potential benefit is using a small amount of fat to camouflage severe ripples in thin-skin patients. Until there are more studies looking at fat transplants on the long-term effects on breast cancer, we should approach this exciting new area with serious caution.”
Di: For me, Dr. Lille had me nixing this procedure at breast cancer. Some surgeons and patients like to take risks when it comes to health and beauty, but until the safety data proves that using fat can safely be done to augment breasts, I think implants are the way to go!