Fat Grafting

As a truly cutting-edge plastic surgery procedure, fat grafting offers multiple benefits for our Phoenix and Scottsdale breast surgery patients. During the procedure, Dr. Robert Cohen or Dr. Steven Sigalove removes fat from unwanted locations via liposuction (common areas include the love handles and thighs). Then, he processes and refines the fat, and reinjects it into areas of the body that need more volume, typically the breasts. The benefits of fat grafting are significant, and this procedure has become an increasingly common adjunctive procedure for our breast surgery patients over the past few years.

To learn more about how natural breast enhancement with fat grafting may help you reach your cosmetic goals, please request a consultation today. You may also call us to schedule an appointment at (480) 423-1973.

Our Surgeons

Medical director Dr. Robert Cohen and his associates, Dr. Steven Sigalove and Dr. Josh Olson, are certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. These talented surgeons are leaders in the field of plastic surgery and the proof is in their results.

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Dr. Sigalove, Dr. Cohen, Dr. Olson

Understanding Fat Grafting

revolve logo

There are 3 primary aspects to a successful fat grafting procedure: harvesting the fat, processing it, and reinserting it into a new area of the body. I begin by removing the fat from the areas where the patient no longer wants it, using power-assisted liposuction to extract it in a way that minimizes bruising and downtime.

fat grafting equipment Photos courtesy of LifeCell.

Rather than discarding the fat, it is processed for reinjection. To do this, the liposuction tube is connected to the REVOLVE™ System. This device, manufactured by LifeCell, provides a sterile environment for washing the fat, where the fat is never exposed to the outside environment to maintain viability and sterility. Using body temperature Lactated Ringers solution (similar to saline) and a small, manually turned "propeller" inside the container that is designed to gently separate the fat from any fluid waste, fibrous strands, and other impurities, I am able to extract the purest and best fat cells.

With the fat purified and clean, syringes are connected to the REVOLVE device, and pure fat is drawn up for injection. This fat is then injected via a small cannula into the recipient sites where the patient is looking to add volume. Fat is injected in thin streams (also called threads) to maximize blood flow to the grafted fat, which encourages the body to "take" more of it and assimilate it to the recipient site. The beauty of the REVOLVE device is that it is a closed system to maximize sterility, and it is also a simple system that allows quick processing time to minimize the time the fat cells are out of the body.

syringes filled with fat

Am I a Good Candidate?

We all have fat — and because it's a soft material that is found in the body already, it can be an excellent way to add volume to the breasts and deliver a natural-looking result. In my experience, good candidates for a breast fat grafting procedure meet these 2 main criteria:

  • They have excess or unwanted fat that is available for harvest.
  • They would like to have additional volume added to a breast lift or need additional soft tissue padding to improve the results of a corrective breast surgery.

Ideally, the patient would like to increase breast volume by a small enough amount that fat grafting alone can accomplish the desired effect. In such a case, I can complement a breast lift's improvements in shape and position with layers of fat in the upper breasts to achieve a fuller look.

Before & After Fat Grafting

Fat Grafting Case 1 before photo Fat Grafting Case 1 after photo BeforeAfter

This patient had a breast lift with fat grafting to give her more volume in the upper breasts. She also had a tummy tuck.

Fat grafting is also a good choice for patients who are experiencing some breast implant visibility — in other words, they can see or feel the implants through the skin. This can happen due to a thinning of the tissue surrounding the implant. When it occurs, I can layer fat above the areas where the implant is visible or can be felt to add padding, thickness, and smoothness.

Occasionally, I do see patients who have insufficient fat to harvest for fat grafting because they are very thin. This is the main criteria that would make a patient ineligible for a procedure; beyond that, I evaluate each patient in person to make sure the procedure is the right path forward.

Before & After Fat Grafting

Complex Revision before Complex Revision after BeforeAfter

This woman had breast implant revision with fat grafting.

What to Expect

In our initial consultation, I will ask you about the areas of your body you would like to address, as well as your ultimate goals. At that point, I will offer my candid assessment of whether fat grafting is the right choice. Assuming it is, on your day of surgery we'll begin by preparing both the fat donor and fat recipient sites on your body. You'll then be given a general anesthetic. From there, I proceed with power-assisted liposuction of the donor sites and fat grafting into the recipient site, often in combination with a breast lift or revision.

For specific information on the recovery process following a fat grafting procedure, I encourage you to read through my cosmetic surgery FAQ. It includes information on postoperative concerns, such as how to take care of your body, when to return to work, and when you'll be able to return to normal physical activity. Generally, the donor sites (where the fat comes from) will heal just like regular liposuction sites. The recipient sites (where the fat goes), rarely have much pain, but there can be some temporary swelling or bruising.

There are some risks specific to fat grafting, including oil cysts, firm nodules at the recipient sites, and resorption (the fat is absorbed by the body, rather than grafting to the area where it's injected). However, I'm happy to report that, thanks to the quality of the REVOLVE System, these issues are extremely rare with my patients, and I find that approximately 80% of the fat that I inject stays put.  Patients are often amazed at how much the additional fat padding can help with the aesthetics of their breasts.

To see how fat grafting could work for you, request a consultation with Dr. Cohen or Dr. Sigalove today. Your surgeon will be happy to walk you through everything in person.

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