Fat Grafting Technique Improves on Results of Breast Augmentation

A technique using a transplantation of a small amount of the patient’s own fat cells can produce better cosmetic outcomes, according to a study in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Dr. Francisco G. Bravo of Clinica Gomez Bravo, Madrid reports that the technique can achieve a more natural-appearing cleavage, which avoids the “separated breasts” appearance that can occur after breast augmentation.

This conclusion comes as the result of analyses performed by Dr. Bravo of the outcomes of breast augmentation surgery in 59 women. 38 underwent conventional surgery using breast implants only, while the other 21 received combination technique using breast implants plus “selective para-sternal fat grafting.”

This approach involved a small amount of the patient’s own fat being harvested from elsewhere in the body-such as the thighs or abdomen. The fat is processed and carefully placed along the inner (medial) borders of the breasts, with the goal being a more natural shape and to soften the “medial transition zone” between the sternum (breastbone) and the implant edges.

Following surgery Dr Bravo compared the results by measuring the distance between the medial border of the breasts, or “vertical aesthetic line” (VAL), and by rating the “attractiveness” of paired breasts of photographs shown to 20 observers, which were digitally altered to show a narrower or wider VAL.

Though both groups of women reported higher satisfaction rates, the technique resulted in a more natural cleavage  in patients undergoing the fat grafting technique.

There were no complications related to fat grafting-likely reflecting the small amounts of fat transplanted and the gentle “micro-grafting” technique used.

Fat grafting between the sternum and implant on both sides appears to provide a significant cosmetic advantage, as it produces a smoother transition between the breasts and avoids the artificial “separated breasts” appearance. The results of Dr Bravo’s findings also support the concept that the VAL is a useful concept for plastic surgeons to consider in achieving a more attractive, natural appearance after breast augmentation.