Breast Fat Transfer2019-12-01T23:20:21+00:00


Fat transfer breast augmentation is a method of augmenting and reshaping the breasts using your own body fat, rather than silicone implants.

Breast Fat Transfer

Your Own Body Fat

Breast Implants vs Breast fat Transfer
Photo of Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone Implants

After fat transfer breast augmentation it is almost impossible to tell that the breasts have been surgically enhanced.

Fat transfer to the breast is also the least invasive method of breast enlargement and it doesn’t involve inserting any foreign object into the body.

Improvements in liposuction and lipo-filling in recent years mean higher rates of fat survival and more predictable results.

Results Typical of Two Fat Transfer Breast Procedures *

Breast Fat Transfer Before and After

* Individual results will vary from person to person.

As a rough guide, you can realistically expect up to 1 cup size increase in volume for each fat transfer procedure, assuming a reasonable rate of fat survival. An estimate of around 80 – 100 ml of fat, per breast.

Ensuring a Successful Breast Fat Transfer

Fat transfer to the breasts is a technically demanding procedure due to the time required to ensure optimum fat survival. The method of harvesting the fat cells, purifying them, and reinjecting the fat will determine the percentage of fat cells that survive the process.

1. Purifying the Fat Cells (the Cleaning Process)

Traditional methods of purification including the use of centrifugation can destroy a large number of fat cells even before they are re-injected into the breasts. Technologies including Puregraft and Lipivage fat filtration preserve more of the donor fat during the filtration process.

2. Re-injecting the Fat Cells

To ensure re-injected fat establishes a supply of blood it is important that the surgeon takes their time to spread the fat in thin layers covering large regions of the breasts. Low fat survival rates and complications can occur when too much fat is injected in one session.

Grafting fat cells is a tedious and time-consuming process.

Syringe of Fat for Breast Fat Transfer

Advantages – Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation

Some of the advantages of fat transfer breast augmentation and reshaping include:

  • Your breasts may look and feel more natural than had you used implants. It is generally harder to detect the transfer of fat to the breast than to detect silicone implants,
  • Little if any scarring, versus silicone implants which require incisions and result in fine scars, typically in the breast crease,
  • No foreign objects in your body, reducing the risk of contamination, infection and capsular contraction,
  • A lower overall complication rate,
  • Liposuction (to collect the fat) is a part of the procedure, which allows you to remove unwanted stubborn fat from areas of your body, commonly the buttocks, but also the abdomen, flanks and thighs,
  • Faster recovery time than breast augmentation with implants, and usually an easier recovery.

Disadvantages – Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation

There are a few downsides to breast fat transfer:

  • The cost of the procedure vs implants:

– 1 fat transfer to breast procedure: £6,400*

– 2 procedures, spaced 6 months apart (for additional volume) £11,600*

– 3 procedures, spaced 6 months apart: £16,800*

* Liposuction of fat from one donor site, additional donor sites are charged at £600 per area.

  • Breast fat transfer will always cost more to achieve the same degree of augmentation versus silicone breast implants.
  • The overall gain in volume is likely to be less than can be achieved with silicone breast implants, and the maximum increase in size is less.
  • Not all of the fat transferred to the breasts will survive. Any fat that does not survive can result in granulomatous reactions or form fatty cysts (lumpiness), particularly if too much fat is injected in one session. The fat must be also be injected at a suitable depth.
  • Fat must survive the journey from the donor site (belly, thighs, rear) to the recipient site. Advanced methods of fat graft preparation, including the use of Lipivage fat filtration, and reinjection with specialist techniques will improve the rate of fat survival.

Complications – Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation

Breast fat transfers generally have a lower risk of complications than silicone implants.

It is essential to see a highly skilled surgeon who has experience in this procedure, to maximise fat survival and minimise the chance of unlikely complications including:

  • Infection (a risk in all surgery)
  • Cysts, microcalcification (the forming of small hard lumps)
  • The death of some of the fat cells
  • The possibility that some of the transferred fat cells will leave the breast area.

Should complications occur, they are usually minor and able to be fixed by the surgeon.

Injecting too much fat in one procedure increases the risk of lumps of fat forming, and also decreases the overall fat survival rate and lowers the predictability of the result.

Your surgeon will know how much fat can be injected each session for the best result possible.

As an indication of price, your first fat transfer procedure will cost around £6,200, and you may need 2 or 3 procedures in some cases, depending on the results sought. Each procedure increases the volume of the breasts.

Ideal Candidate

Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation

An ideal candidate has excess fat in one or more areas of the body, that can be removed (liposuctioned) from the donor site and injected back into the breasts.

Using fat to augment the breasts has a number of advantages, however, a candidate looking for a large increase in breast size may not be suitable for this procedure.

Breast augmentation by fat transfer is likely to require 2 or more procedures.

At a cost of around £5,800 per fat transfer, and with the need to have 2 or 3 procedures, the total cost can be around £15,000; significantly more expensive than using implants.

Improving the Look of Breast Implants and Breast Reconstruction

Breast fat transfer can also be used to fine-tune the outcome of breast reconstruction after lumpectomy or mastectomy.

The aesthetic results of breast implant augmentation can also be improved by adding fat.

For example, fat can be added to disguise the edges of silicone or saline implants, or to mask the rippling effect more common with saline breast implants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a suitable candidate for Breast Fat Transfer?2018-05-22T20:06:20+01:00

A few preliminary questions must be answered.

1. Do you have enough fat to take from the donor site?

This treatment is not suitable for patients with very little body fat. You need an area or two where there is sufficient fat to liposuction from, generally the buttocks, stomach, or sides.

If you do have sufficient fat, the Surgeon will determine the quality of the fat and likelihood of successful fat survival in the recipient site.


2. Are you looking for a subtle or modest increase in breast size?

If you are looking to go from a B cup to D cup, this procedure is not suitable for you, and you may be better to consider breast implants.

How much of the fat will survive?2018-05-22T20:01:49+01:00

The breasts naturally contain fat and are one of the better areas of the body for fat transfer.

In order for the fat taken from the donor site to survive in the recipient site (the breasts), the fat must re-vascularise (establish a blood supply).

Most of the transferred fat will establish a supply of blood in the first week after the procedure.

Therefore it is essential to rest for a week after the procedure in order for the breasts to heal and integrate the new fat.

As an option, P.R.P. can be added to the fat when transferred to the breasts if the patient wishes.

How long will the breast fat transfer results last?2018-05-22T18:55:45+01:00

As long as you keep your weight reasonably stable, the amount of additional fat that exists after 3 months should remain permanently.

What are the main side effects and complications?2018-05-22T20:04:55+01:00

Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation is appealing to many patients due to its lower risk compared to breast augmentation with silicone implants.

The risk of infection is generally lower than with a breast implant and avoids the risk of capsular contraction, not uncommon with implants.

Your Surgeon will discuss the specific risks relevant to your circumstances on the day of your consultation.

Some of the risks associated with this procedure are:

  • Infection (a risk in all surgery).
  • Cysts, microcalcification (the forming of small hard lumps).
  • The death of some of the fat cells.
  • The possibility that some of the transferred fat cells will leave the breast area.
  • Complications are unlikely and can usually be addressed by the surgeon, should they occur.
Why are Breast Implants more popular than Fat Transfer?2018-05-22T20:00:05+01:00

There are a number of reasons that silicone breast implants remain more popular than fat transfer, including:

  • You can get a much larger result with silicone gel implants, compared to fat transfer.
  • Fat transfer can require multiple procedures spaced over more than 1 year.
  • Silicone gel implants are cheaper, costing around £5-7,000 versus fat transfer which can cost over £10,000 with multiple sessions.
  • Some patients do not have enough fat to transfer.
  • Lumps of fat can form is the fat transfer is not undertaken with sufficient skill, or in some cases may even form on their own, due to the bodies own healing process.
Will I need to wear a surgical bra?2018-06-29T21:37:58+01:00



  • Your surgeon may require you to wear a surgical bra following breast implant surgery, fat transfer or breast reshaping. You should wear the bra until your surgeon advises otherwise with the usual time required ranging from 2-6 weeks following the surgery.
  • The amount of time will vary from patient to patient and depends on a number of factors, including your healing progress, the nature and scope of the procedure performed, and your physical characteristics.
  • You will need to alternate between your surgery bra, and another surgical bra or support bra in order to wash the bra regularly.
  • One surgical bra from Macom Medical is included in the price of most Harley Breast procedures.
  • Additional garments may be purchased from Macom directly.
How soon will I be able to return home after breast surgery?2018-06-29T21:31:57+01:00
  • Breast augmentation and reshaping using either implants or fat transfer, and breast reduction, is usually as a day case, enabling you to return home on the same day.
  • You will usually stay in the hospital for at least 2-3 hours following surgery in order to monitor you and complete necessary post-op checks before you are discharged by your surgeon.


  • In some cases, your surgeon will require you to stay overnight at the private hospital.  If this is the case you will be told beforehand with plenty of time in advance.
  • Patients that are staying overnight at the hospital have all meals provided for them.
  • All recovery rooms have a comfortable bed, television and internet access.
  • You will be allowed a visitor in some cases but not overnight.
  • Patients that stay at the hospital overnight are usually discharged between 8 am and 10 am the next morning.
When can I have a bath or shower?2018-05-25T23:06:54+01:00
  • If you are unsure of anything, please check with your surgeon or the clinical team.
  • Generally, it is better to keep the wound from being fully submerged in water (for example in a bath), for 6 weeks from the surgery date.
  • You will generally be able to shower from 1 week after the surgery, ensuring that you do not get the wound wet for too long, and you take care of it in the shower.
  • This means, for example, not having a long hot shower during the first 6 weeks, and not washing the area of the wound in a way that disturbs the healing skin.
  • Pat yourself dry after your shower, avoiding the wound and certainly do not rubbing the wound dry by passing the towel over it.
Will I need to sleep on my back?2018-06-29T21:30:51+01:00



  • Ideally, you will sleep on your back in a slightly elevated position after surgery, particularly in the first week.
  • As you may be recommended to sleep on your back for up to 6 weeks, you are advised to practice sleeping in this position in the days before your surgery, particularly if you are used to sleeping on your side or stomach.
  • Sleeping on your back will help to reduce swelling and discomfort, and also reduce the risk of the implant moving before you are fully healed.
Will I have any change in the sensation of the nipples?2018-05-25T23:07:09+01:00

Numb of tingling nipples are normal and should stop by 2-4 weeks from the date of the surgery.

When can I drive?2018-05-25T23:07:16+01:00
  • You will have reduced reaction time straight after surgery, and are unable to drive home on your own.
  • Also, you don’t want to risk any aggressive movements such as stretching that may be required in operating the motor vehicle during the first month after surgery.
  • If you are on any pain medication your driving ability and reaction time may be lowered.
  • You should seek the permission of your surgeon before you return to driving.
  • There may even be implications for your car insurance if you do not follow the advice of the surgeon and end up in a minor accident.
When can I go bra shopping?2018-06-29T21:29:52+01:00

Surgical Bra


  • You will need a new bra after surgery, particularly after breast augmentation by implants or reduction surgery, as your bra size will have changed.
  • You are likely to be wearing a surgical bra following the procedure (if your surgeon instructs you too). It is better to wait until the surgeon gives you the go-ahead to stop wearing a surgical bra before buying new bras. This will likely be around 1 month following surgery.
  • This also gives the breast time to heal and allows for swelling to subside and implants to settle into their final position.
How much time do I need to take off work?2018-05-25T23:07:31+01:00

Time off work after breast augmentation


  • Obviously, the longer the better to give yourself time to heal at home in a relaxed environment.
  • We recognise that taking time off work is expensive, and takes away precious annual leave you would rather spend on holidays.
  • The minimum required time away from is 7 days in order to rest and recover from the operation.
  • Your surgeon will ask you about the nature of your work during your consultation.
  • If you have an active job (for example you are a personal trainer or dancer), rather than working in an office, then you may need to take additional time off.
  • You should certainly not stretch or lift heavy objects for at least 2 weeks following surgery, and take it easier than normal for the first month.
Who should I contact following the procedure if I have any concerns?2018-06-29T21:23:31+01:00
  • If you have general questions or are needing follow-ups scheduled or other non-urgent assistance, you should contact the clinic directly (rather than your surgeon).
  • Your surgeon will provide you with their contact telephone number in case there is an urgent need to contact them.
  • You must contact your surgeon if you are seriously concerned about the healing, feel something is definitely wrong, or you are in excessive pain.
  • The clinic is contactable 24/7 in the case of an urgent matter on 020 3633 5055.
What happens when I decide I want to go ahead with surgery?2018-06-29T21:22:56+01:00

Harley Breast Staff

  • You call the clinic on 020 3633 5055 and let you know what dates are available at the private hospital.
  • We then take a deposit to secure you a place in the hospital.
  • The deposit becomes non-refundable 2 weeks before your operation date.
  • It is sometimes recommended to see your surgeon for a second consultation.
What happens on the day of the surgery?2018-05-25T23:10:14+01:00
  • Before the operation, you are not supposed to take aspirin.
  • It is recommended to stop taking the contraceptive pill 1 month before surgery.
  • You will have to stop eating, drinking and smoking 6 hours before the operation.
  • You will see your surgeon before going to the theatre and have time to ask them anything you may have forgotten to ask.
  • Your surgeon will ask you to sign a consent form, where all the possible risks are mentioned. He will then do some markings on your skin and take some before photographs (they will stay in your file and are totally confidential)
  • You will meet your anaesthetist and you are free to ask them any questions you may have before being shown into the surgical theatre.
  • Your operation takes less than one hour.
What happens directly after the surgery?2018-05-25T23:10:47+01:00
  • After the operation, you will spend half an hour in recovery, before being taken back to your room.
  • You may be discharged a few hours later and asked to come back to the clinic the next morning for a check-up, or sometimes you will stay overnight.
  • Your surgeon will explain your individual care plan closer to the date of the procedure.
What happens back home, after the surgery?2018-05-25T23:11:21+01:00
  • Back home you are supposed to take it easy; which means obviously no sport or heavy lifting for six weeks.
  • Ideally, you should sleep on your back in a slightly inclined position.
  • You cannot shower your breasts for one week.
  • You cannot drive for one week.
  • You might be in pain and will need to take some painkillers.
  • You will be told to take some antibiotics for one week.
  • Your dressing needs to stay clean and dry.
  • If necessary, it can be changed by a nurse every other day, before you see your surgeon again.
When are my follow-up appointments?2018-06-29T21:22:04+01:00




  • You are supposed to come back to the clinic after one week for the first wound check (but you can contact the office anytime in between), and then you will see your surgeon in the second week.
  • After this first post-operative check, you will see your surgeon after one month, three months and six months unless there is any need to see the doctor more frequently.
  • Your stitches will be trimmed after two weeks.
  • The initial swelling will disappear within 3 weeks, which is the time you need before starting to see what your final shape will look like.

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Site Author Surgeon Dr Gary Horn

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Dr Gary Horn is a highly acclaimed Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon with over 25 years of experience in breast augmentation and reshaping using breast implants (over 2,000 surgeries performed) and fat transfer to the breast. Dr Horn is a registered Plastic Surgeon in the UK (GMC 4267803) and Belgium.

SPECIALITIES: General Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic Plastic Surgery

LANGUAGES:  English, French



Dr Horn is qualified to perform a large range of procedures, including:
Breast augmentation with cohesive silicone gel implants, fat transfer to the breasts, Breast Lift, Mastopexy.

French Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (SoFCPRE)

European Board of Plastic Surgery
International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
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