Fat Transfer to the Breasts: A Natural Alternative to Implants

Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation ChicagoIn July, Allergan recalled their textured breast implants after the FDA reported a link between the implants and a rare cancer known as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

This news concerned hundreds of thousands of women who had textured implants placed during cosmetic breast augmentation, breast reconstruction or as part of a mommy makeover.

If you are one of the many women who may be affected by the recall — or if you are looking for a natural alternative to breast implants — board-certified plastic surgeon Michael Byun can help.

Dr. Byun has never used textured breast implants. “I don’t like to jump into using new devices unless they are proven to be safe and effective over time,” says the doctor, who serves as an advisory board member at Northwestern University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. He has only ever used smooth, round implants in his many years of practice.

Augment Your Breasts With Your Own Fat

Nowadays, Dr. Byun and many women actually prefer a more natural approach to breast enhancement: autologous fat transfer. This is the process of transferring a woman’s own fat from another area of her body to her breasts to provide a modest boost in shape and volume.

If you currently have the recalled textured implants, the FDA says there is no reason to remove them — unless you experience symptoms of BIA-ALCL (e.g., persistent pain or swelling near your implant). But if you decide to remove the implants for your own peace of mind, fat transfer to the breasts might be a good way to retain some volume.

Dr. Byun warns that the transplanted fat should not be injected into the muscle — only the breast tissue directly. Injecting fat into the muscle can lead to fat embolism (i.e., a blockage of blood flow); it may also interfere with mammograms.

Dr. Byun adds, “God made different tissues for a reason. Fat should be added to the subcutaneous fat layer between the skin and the muscles. Honor the body’s natural anatomy and you will experience fewer complications.”

Reposition Sagging Breasts With Vertical Breast Lift

If mild to moderate breast sagging (ptosis) is also a concern after removing the textured implants, Dr. Byun recommends a vertical breast lift. The procedure is performed through an incision around the edge of the areola and another one down to the crease of the breast. By removing excess breast skin, tightening the skin below the areola and lifting the breast tissues, Dr. Byun can create perkier, more aesthetically pleasing breasts.

“Lifting the breasts makes them look more youthful when wearing evening dresses or swimsuits,” Dr. Byun explains.

Consult With Dr. Byun

If you are concerned your textured breast implants put you at risk of BIA-ALCL, or if you are interested in a completely natural alternative to breast augmentation, you might be a candidate for autologous fat transfer with Dr. Byun. Request a consultation with the doctor today.