Which Procedure for Your Breast is Best?

Mar 23, 2023

If you are displeased with the size of your breasts, you are not alone. Breast augmentation is the most common form of plastic surgery, with hundreds of thousands of these procedures taking place each year.

Breast augmentation in Lexington is a great way to address deflated or sagging breasts due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, or extreme weight loss. It can help cancer patients with restructuring after a mastectomy. Breast augmentation is also an option for those who just wish their breasts were more shapely or full.

Two popular procedures exist to enhance breast shape and size: breast implants and fat cell transfer. Each way comes with its own set of pros and cons. Our Lexington breast augmentation team has developed this guide to help you determine which augmentation method is right for you.

Which Procedure for Your Breast is Best

(National Cancer Institute/Unsplash)

Breast Implants

Breast implants are surgically inserted pouches of saline or silicone gel that enhance the size and shape of the breast. Implants come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and textures to achieve different results.

Pros of Breast Implants:

  • Implants can give an immediate and distinct result. Implants can increase cup size by one or more cups.
  • Both saline and silicone gel implants are FDA-approved.
  • Results will last 10 years.
  • Smoking status is less of an issue in a standard breast augmentation (although today is always the best time to quit!).
  • You can be more specific with the types of results you want to achieve through your breast augmentation, with result possibilities ranging from subtle to substantial.

Cons of Breast Implants:

  • Implants run the risk of rupturing. The risk is low (about 1%), but it is possible.
  • Capsular contracture is a risk with implants. This is the body’s response to the implantation of foreign material, where hard scar tissue appears around the implant.
  • Eventually, breast implants will need to be removed and (if desired) replaced.  The FDA recommends that they be replaced every 10 years, but most patients wait a bit longer.  If they rupture or deflate, they would need to be exchanged earlier.
  • It is possible for the pouch of saline or silicone gel to become displaced (malposition).
  • Breast and nipple sensations may be diminished due to the location of the scars.
  • Textured implants have been linked with breast implant illness and a form of lymphatic cancer that starts in the scar tissue surrounding the implant.

The ideal breast implant candidate is someone who wants a significant change to the volume of their breasts. For saline implants, you must be at least 18 years old, and for silicone gel implants, there is a minimum age of 22 years old.

Autologous Breast Augmentation (Fat Cell Transfer)

Fat cell transfer is just as the name suggests: fat cells are harvested from a different part of the body via liposuction and are then transferred to the breast tissue.

Pros of Fat Cell Transfer:

  • This process has the most natural look and feels since the breasts are supplemented with tissue from your own body.
  • You get “free-Liposuction” of the donor site(s).  In order to create a full breast, one if not two areas of the body are used to harvested fat.
  • The fat cells won’t be “rejected” by the body. Fat cells are naturally occurring parts of the body, so they aren’t going to be received as foreign objects like implants are.
  • In addition to more full breasts, a fat transfer slims a separate area of the body where the fat was pulled from. (Love handles and inner thighs are common donor sites.)
  • Scarring is minimal using a fat cell transfer.
  • The recovery period for a fat cell transfer is less than the recovery period after breast implants.

Cons of Fat Cell Transfer:

  • With a fat transfer, breast size will increase up to one cup size (about 300cc).
  • Results from a fat transfer can be unpredictable, especially in current or former smokers.
  • Sometimes the body reabsorbs the transferred fat and some patients require a second round of fat grafting.
  • Calcification of the fat cells can occur, which may cause cysts and could hinder mammogram results.
  • Fat cell transfer is not very effective in patients who have previously undergone radiation treatments.

The ideal candidate for fat cell transfer would be someone wanting a more subtle and natural approach to breast augmentation (both in the process of utilizing fat cells from their own body and in the natural-looking results).

These breast augmentation procedures are not one-size-fits-all. The best procedure is a very individual decision and is often combined with other procedures.

If you are considering one of these procedures, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon can give you the information you need to decide which option is best for your situation and goals. If you would like a consultation about breast augmentation and are in the Lexington, Kentucky, area, give our office a call. We would love to help you.