ARTICLE

Removal & Replacement of Breast Implants by Fat Transfer

Now that fat transfer to the breasts has become an accepted method of breast augmentation, we are seeing a lot of women who would like their implants removed and replaced with their own fat. Some of the stories we hear are very troubling. In just one day, I saw three women who had problems with their breast implants.

Two of the women had had their implants replaced twice. In other words, they’d had three operations over the previous 15 – 20 years due to various complications, including breast asymmetry, implant leakage, painful breasts, etc. Neither of these women were happy with the final result. One said that she’d come to realise that when it came to breasts, it was “all about symmetry and shape, not size”. She was very disappointed that her sternum was wide, offering her no real cleavage. She felt her breasts looked round, unnatural and aesthetically unappealing.

The third woman I saw had encountered even more complications. Having had textured silicone implants inserted once and then replaced after only a few years, she had the misfortune to develop ALCL (Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma) which is a cancer of the capsule surrounding her breast implant. Her left breast suddenly swelled up and an analysis of the fluid revealed cancer cells. She was treated by removal of the implant and a total bilateral capsulectomy.  Unfortunately, this left her with scarred and deflated breasts.

Up until recently, the only way to help these women was to insert yet another implant. However, we can now offer the option of Autologous Fat Transfer. For a reconstructive plastic surgeon, Autologous Fat Transfer is a beautiful operation. It is real reconstructive surgery because we are taking tissue from one part of the body and placing it in another for reconstructive purposes.  It’s taken us five years to perfect the technique of harvesting, preparing and grafting the fat and we are now very confident of our results. Indeed it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to remove a set of implants and to replace them with a smaller volume of fat but for a far improved aesthetic result. I do this by being strategic with the fat. In other words I can place the fat selectively into the cleavage, upper pole, behind the nipple etc. (wherever it is needed) in order to produce the most aesthetic result.

Our latest advance is that we now grow the fat once it’s been transplanted into the breasts. Some people refer to this as “grow your own breast implants”! So it is no longer a question of whether 50% or 80% of the fat transferred survives, because for many of our patients the amount of volume increase is greater than the amount of fat transplanted!

We are entering a new era of breast enhancement by Autologous Fat Transfer and we, at Avenue Aesthetic Surgery, are proud to be at the forefront of this development.