Breast Implants Vs Fat Transfer: Which Do I Get?

posted on:
November 22nd, 2021
posted by:
Dr. Thomas Bell, MD

Unhappiness with breasts size and shape is all-too-common insecurity among many women. Many of these women turn to cosmetic breast augmentation to help them feel more confident in their bodies.

Our Toronto breast augmentation specialists at our clinic utilize breast augmentation to treat various issues, from increasing cup sizes of smaller breasts, decreasing the size of larger breasts, filling out and lifting breasts that have sagged, and more. Because of the variety of things it can treat, there isn’t just one type of breast augmentation. Fat transfer and breast implants are both ways that can be used to improve the appearance of the breasts. But when talking about fat transfer vs breast implants, you may have some questions.

This post will discuss all things fat transfer vs implants.

What is a Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation?

A fat transfer breast augmentation is a surgical procedure performed at our clinic that can enhance the appearance of the breasts without the use of implants. During this procedure, liposuction takes fat from a designated donor area on the body (usually where the patient has designated unwanted fat, such as love handles or thighs) and is transferred over to the breasts. This procedure increases the shape, symmetry, and size of the breast.

While breast implants have never been safer to use, have improved in their durability and safety over the years, there are still those who may feel hesitant about receiving them, making the fat transfer breast augmentation a great alternative to implants.

Those who receive a fat transfer in Toronto can rest assured that the procedure has been performed using the fat cells from within their own body instead of the foreign material of the implant being surgically inserted.

Another reason that makes this procedure so popular is the donor fat coming from an unwanted area of the body. This means not only will the breast size and shape be improving from this procedure, but the donor area will have an improved appearance and body contour as well.

Finally, a fat transfer breast augmentation is great because it lasts. Unlike implants, which should be replaced every 10-12 years, a fat transfer is a permanent procedure, lasting indefinitely as long as the patients’ health and weight are kept within similar ranges to that at the time of surgery.

A fat transfer breast augmentation does have a drawback, however. It is less effective in increasing cup size in the breasts, usually only increasing them anywhere from half to one cup size.

Can I Combine Fat Transfer and Breast Implants?

Of course! Many patients often opt for the combination of fat transfer and breast implants, as they can enhance the overall appearance of the breasts. In this case, the fat is transferred above the implants, acting as a layer between them and the skin. This allows for a more natural-looking and feeling breast at the surface level and can help prevent the appearance of any rippling from them.

Some women opt to use this procedure to “top off” or enhance their saline or silicone breast implants, to give a more natural layer between their skin and their implants. This combination of fat transfer and breast implants can also reduce the appearance of ripples from the implants.

Two Types of Breast Implants

Our clinic offers two styles of implants: Saline and Silicone. Both implants come in a vast array of shapes and sizes.

Saline Breast Implants

The first implant we offer is the one most are familiar with; the saline breast implant. This type of implant is filled with a sterile saltwater solution known as saline. The implant casing is inserted empty during the procedure, placed into position, and filled with the saline solution until they reach the desired size.

There are many reasons why saline implants are such a popular choice. For starters, they’re less invasive. Because the implant casings are inserted empty, the incisions of the procedure are less than that of silicone implants. This also allows us to have more direct control over the size and placement of the implant.

Another reason that makes saline breast implants so great is that the saline solution within them is less expensive than silicone. Typically saline implants are a few hundred, to just over a thousand dollars less than silicone.

Finally, another main reason that one might favour these types of implants is that their contents are safe. Saline is a sterile solution, and In the event of a rupture, it can be safely absorbed by the body. A ruptured saline implant will be noticeable almost right away by the quick progression of the “deflation,” allowing you to seek the necessary removal and replacement almost instantly, where silicone ruptures may take longer to discover.

There are a few drawbacks to saline implants, however. Firstly, the saline filling of the implant is a liquid and thus can slosh around during activities involving movement such as exercise. The effect of the saline moving can cause a “rippling” texture during these times, making it easier to determine the evidence an implant exists beneath the skin. Saline breast implants also don’t strictly feel like authentic natural breasts, which can be an undesired effect if a patient is trying to be discreet about their implants.

Enter fat grafting. Fat transfer breast augmentation can be performed in conjunction with saline implants to create a thicker layer between the implants and skin’s surface, allowing for a more natural feel to the breasts and minimizing any rippling effects.

Silicone Breast Implants (Gummy Bear)

The successor to the saline breast implant, silicone breast implants, are also known as the gummy bear implant. The gummy bear implant gets its name due to the dense silicone gel that fills the implant, similar to the texture of a gummy bear.

Being filled with the denser material allows for a reduced risk of rupture, as the material is form stable in the event of the outer shell casing being broken.

The material also feels and looks more natural to the touch than saline implants and does not ripple under the skin as the material does not move about as the body motions about.

This isn’t to say that silicone implants are perfect, however. While the event of a silicone implant rupturing is less likely than that of a saline implant, the possibility for leakage still can occur. As the material is far denser and more cohesive, the silicone can gradually leak out over time, making it hard to notice the rupture until it has been going on for some time. As silicone is a foreign material to the body, it cannot be absorbed like the saline solution and requires surgery to remove it from the tissue. This is why it is recommended for patients of this implant to receive an MRI every few years to check in on the status and integrity of the silicone implant. Also, it is important to report to your surgeon any new forms of discomfort or sensations in the area of the implant as they occur, to ensure it is not related to potential leakage.

Fat Transfer vs Breast implants — Which Should I Get?

Which is better, fat transfer or implants? While a common question, unfortunately, there’s not really a concrete answer, as there is more than one difference between breast implants and fat transfer. When debating between fat grafting vs implants, it’s best to consider your goals and desired outcome for the procedure.

If increased cup size alone is your overall intended goal for the procedure, then implants may better suit your needs. On the flip side, if your breasts are augmented with your natural fat versus a foreign material, a transfer will be more suited.

If you desire both cup size increase and authentic feel, a combination of implant and fat transfer is recommended for optimal results.

Directly Comparing Breast Implants vs Fat Transfer

For a more direct comparison of the difference between breast implants and fat transfer, let us break down these types of breast surgery into three categories: fat transfer and breast implant Costs, Recovery, and benefits.

Fat Transfer

Fat Grafting Costs: Pricing begins at $9,999

Fat Grafting Recovery: The discomfort subsides within 48 hours, recovery takes 2-7 days, but swelling can last a few weeks.

Fat Grafting Benefits:

  • Unwanted fat is removed from another designated area
  • Uses natural fat from your own body
  • Results are long-lasting and do not need replacing.

Breast Implants

Breast Implants costs: Pricing begins at $9,999. Silicone breast implants usually cost slightly more.

Breast Implants Recovery: The discomfort subsides within 48 hours, 2-3 weeks before a more natural appearance—6 weeks for a nearly complete recovery.

Breast Implants Benefits:

  • Improved Breast Symmetry, Improved cup size
  • Choices between two types of implants with a wide array of sizes and shapes
  • Let’s talk Breast Lifts.

While we’ve now thoroughly discussed fat transfer breast augmentation vs implants, another procedure should be mentioned when it comes to breast surgeries.

Breast Lifts

Breasts lifts are a separate procedure to fat transfer or implants. The main difference when comparing breast augmentation vs breast lift is the intent of the surgery.

While the intent of a fat transfer and breast implant surgery is to increase the overall size of the breast, a breast lift’s main goal is to repair the signs of breasts that have lost their fullness and have begun to sag. Sagging breasts that have lost fulness can appear to be flatter or look “deflated” look. This can happen during natural aging, or post-pregnancy and breastfeeding.

After a breast lift is performed, the firmness, perkiness, and fullness are restored to the breast, but the cup size of the breasts is generally left unaltered, and the breasts are merely returned to their former state.

Several types of breast lift methods are available at our clinic, used for treating different requirements and goals for the breasts.

Our clinic performs several types of breast lift procedures, including the following:

Crescent Lift

This is the least intrusive of the crescent lift options, meant for breasts that only have minor sagging. The name comes from the single small crescent-shaped incisions made by the areolas, used to remove the excess skin so the nipples can be raised.

Donut Lift

A donut lift is similar to a crescent lift, using a single incision around the areola. However, this incision goes entirely around, forming a circle. This method, while more extensive than a crescent lift, is still a reasonably minimal lift.

Lollipop Lift

Lollipop breast lifts are the most performed breast lift procedure. During this procedure, a vertical incision is made from the areola to the under-breast area, removing the excess skin and tissue. The name comes from the “lollipop” appearance of the vertical line connecting to the circular areola.

Anchor Lift

This is a far more extensive lift than the other versions of breast lifts. Anchor lifts are typically only performed on breasts with excessive sagging. The incisions used here are for intensive, going vertically down from the areola to the under-breast area, then curving along the under-breast area to allow maximum lifting results, or for reshaping to take place.

Can I Combine a Breast Lift with Implants or Transfers?

One common misconception patients sometimes have is that they must choose between a breast lift vs implants vs fat graft, but this is not the case. Yes! Breast fat transfers can be used to help fill out the restored breast and increase the feel and appearance after a breast lift.

Likewise, many implant breast augmentations utilize breast lifts for optimal results. For example, donut lifts are excellent in helping achieve symmetry between the nipples and help to reduce the size of the areolas.

When combining fat transfer and breast implants, the process usually looks something like this:

First, the initial breast lift is performed, raising the breasts into their desired position. Next, the excess skin and tissue are removed. Finally, the desired implants are inserted into position. If fat transfer and breast implants are put into the same procedure, this is when the grafting is performed.

Book With Us Today

If you have concerns about your breasts and are ready to make a change, or if you have more questions about fat grafting vs implants, give our plastic surgery clinic in Toronto a call today. You can call us at 647-723-3739 or book a consultation with us online.

During your consultation with a member of our team, we will help you decide between fat transfer vs implants or if a combination of both will help best suit your needs.

Posted by:

Dr. Thomas Bell, MD

Dr. Thomas Bell has been one of Canada’s most renowned cosmetic surgeons for 35 years. He prides his excellence on the harmonious balance of vision, aesthetic appearance, and patient care.

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