A pair of trends are emerging in the field of breast enhancement. Plastic surgeons have noticed many of their breast augmentation patients have somewhat modest goals when it comes to increasing the size of their breasts. This shift away from preferring bigger, curvier breasts comes as the technique of fat transfer breast augmentation is being offered by an increasing number of surgeons.
These 2 trends occurring simultaneously is serendipitous. The fat transfer technique — which augments the breasts using a patient’s own fat — is best suited for women who want about a cup size increase.
And it’s occurring as celebrities whose stories of either downsizing their implants or having them removed altogether have been publicized. Victoria Beckham, Pamela Anderson, Heidi Montag, and Tamra Barney, among others, have gone public with their decisions to go small.
Take a look at sales trends for lingerie giant Victoria Secret. You’ll find more proof that unnatural-looking cleavage is losing favor. The sales of push-up bras have plummeted. Instead, companies selling “bralettes” are commanding a greater share of the market.
So it appears the fat transfer trend is occurring at an opportune time.
Fat transfer breast augmentation — sometimes called natural breast enhancement — involves using liposuction to harvest fat from one area of a patient’s body. Then it’s re-injected into the breasts (after it’s processed to remove impurities). This technique is becoming more popular among women who want some added volume, but not enough for implants.
“Our patients who undergo fat transfer breast augmentation are often thrilled with the natural-looking results and the improved contours of their bodies,” says Dr. Alan N. Larsen, a breast augmentation specialist in Atlanta at Buckhead Plastic Surgery. “The women who consider fat transfer breast augmentation share certain characteristics. Patients may have naturally small breasts and want a subtle, but beautiful enhancement.”
Fat transfer isn’t a new aesthetic technique. It’s been used to reverse signs of facial aging (sometimes called “fat grafting”). Much like fillers, it restores volume to minimize wrinkles. It’s also been used as part of breast reconstruction procedures. But only in the past few years have plastic surgeons started to refine the technique as a way to increase the size of breasts without implants.
The appeal of fat transfer breast augmentation is particularly attractive for women who are uncomfortable having a foreign object placed inside their bodies. There is also the “2 birds with one stone” appeal. Since the procedure uses the patient’s own fat, a woman can increase the size of her breasts while reducing the size of her tummy or buttocks simultaneously.
That’s the stuff of daydreams.
It’s not quite that simple, of course. As mentioned already, if you’re looking to gain significant curves, then fat grafting isn’t going to work. Only breast implants can produce those of results. Another drawback is that a patient with small breasts often has little excess fat on the rest of her body, which may mean she’s not a candidate for the procedure.
Unpredictability is another potential reason for hesitation. Not all of the fat that is transferred to the breasts will survive the procedure. It’s difficult to say exactly how much will “take” and produce lasting results, but it’s generally accepted that the percentage is somewhere less than 80%. When you get implants, though, you know the size increase.
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