What are the main factors to consider in deciding between breast implants or fat transfer to the breast?

Doctor's Answers (5)

There are a few key things to consider:

1. What type of look do I want?

- If you want to be a lot bigger and want an augmented look, breast implants may be more suitable. Fat transfer is good for moderate increases that give a very natural result.

2. Are my breasts suitable?

- If your breasts are droopy, fat transfer alone will not improve the shape of your breasts. Implants can take up some of the slack, but it will depend on your nipple position and how big you want to be.

3. Am I comfortable with implants?

- If you will not be comfortable having foreign material in your body, you may prefer fat grafting.

4. Do I have excess fat that I would like to remove?

- Most people would say "yes". Even though we all have some stubborn areas of fat we want removed, it may not be enough to give you the augmentation you want.

5. What is my budget?

- Fat grafting takes longer and is therefore more expensive. You will most likely need more than one session as well.

I think fat grafting is a great method for breast augmentation, but it can't always give the desired result.

Hope this helps!

In addition to the points other plastic surgeons have covered, you may also want to take into consideration the structure of your upper body.

Implants and fat grafting can be combined in the same procedure and would benefit individuals who are/have:

• Lean with little breast tissue

• Thin skin which provide less 'coverage' for hiding implants

• A wider set of breasts. Adding fat grafting to the medial part will make it look more centralized.

In such cases, combining both techniques will give leaner figures a more natural outcome. The implant will give it volume and shape. Whereas, the fat grafting is used to conceal the edges or outlines of the implants, especially if you don’t have sufficient tissue on the higher part of the chest. Additional fat would also give the illusion of a fuller cleavage.

Each patient prioritizes surgical outcomes, costs, and techniques differently. I hope all the inputs on this page helps you make a better decision.

Best regards,

Dr Por Yong Chen

I agree with Dr Chui, there are certainly many considerations when choosing between fat transfer or implants. While impossible to cover everything in detail, some of the important factors are:

1. Cost?

- At least in my practice, the cost of both options is very similar so this is usually not an important deciding factor.

2.  Feasibility?

- Most slim patients wanting a significant augmentation do not have sufficient fat for transfer to achieve a "C" cup.  In such patients, implants are the only safe option.

3. Desired Result?

- If you have ample fat to achieve your desired cup size, fat transfer achieves a softer, natural-looking breast which may  change shape and position with ageing.

- 5th generation breast implants are usually better for shaping a breast and for larger enhancements. They should not change shape or position with time.  However, they can feel slightly firmer than a natural breast if you are slim and have very little breast tissue.

I hope this serves as a good starting point in your decision-making.  Ultimately, a detailed assessment and consultation will always be most beneficial.

Thank you for your question!

Both Dr Chui and Dr Tham have given you very clear points to consider with regards to fat grafting and implants for augmentation of the breasts. 

In my practice, I break it down very simply for my patients:

Can they accept implants in their body? If yes, then implants always deliver a consistently better shape and size improvement that is stable over time. If no, then fat grafting is their only alternative. 

Concurrently, is the improvement in the appearance of the breast more important or the liposuction more important? If it is the breast appearance, almost always, implants deliver a better result. If liposuction is the priority and “by the way” filling of the breasts are desired, then fat grafting can be a very good alternative with a satisfactory outcome. 

The intricacies of each are best explained thoroughly in a consultation. 

I hope this helps! 

Best regards,

Dr Samuel Ho 

Hi S.jm,

The costs of breast augmentation with  fat transfer and breast implants are quite similar.

The short answer to your other question is - Yes, desired cup size is probably your best starting point.

If you are looking to go up more than one cup size then implants would be your choice unless you are willing to consider more than one fat grafting surgery or are willing to try the Brava (https://www.mybrava)

The other consideration, and probably the more important one, is whether your have history of breast lumps, breast disease and what your baseline breast imaging looks like. Fat grafting may not be the best idea if your ultrasound or mammogram is not entirely normal. There are some conditions where fat grafting may complicate the reading of your breast imaging in the future.

So I would suggest a consult to achieve your ideal looking breasts and to avoid negative implications on future breast screening.

Best wishes

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