Post-Mastectomy Fat Grafting: 4 Pros and 4 Cons

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Fat grafting, also known as autologous fat transfer, is a somewhat novel procedure occasionally performed after a mastectomy in place of traditional reconstruction procedures. It replaces the patient’s original breast with liposuctioned fat taken from another area of the body, generally the thighs, belly, or buttocks.

It should be noted that fat grafting is different from lipofilling, which is meant only to correct small issues in the shape or size of the breast after a lumpectomy or other similar procedure. Fat grafting, on the other hand, replaces most of the breast or the entire breast with fat taken from another area of the body.

While fat grafting sounds like the perfect way to get your breasts reconstructed without adding a foreign object to your body, it has been a bit controversial. The technique has not been around long enough for doctors to know what the long-term results will look like, and there are several drawbacks that, for some women, may outweigh the potential benefits.

Take a look at the list below to learn four great reasons to have fat grafting done—and four reasons why you might not want to.

5 Pros of Fat Grafting

1. Fat is easy to mold.

Fat is an awesome tool for doctors to use to make your breast the right shape and size, because it’s very easy to mold into whatever shape you need. Its flexibility allows doctors to make a more gradual contour that looks more natural between the breast mound and the chest wall.

2. It’s natural!

One of the best things about this procedure is that it doesn’t require the insertion of any foreign object into your breast, at least not permanently. When it’s all over and you’ve healed completely, you’re going to feel as normal as possible, and you won’t have to worry about any of the concerns you might have had with a typical reconstructed breast, such as the possibility of your implants leaking, popping, causing discomfort, or not feeling like real breasts. This procedure replaces “like with like,” which means your body is less likely to struggle to “accept” your new breasts. They’ll feel soft, natural, and warm.

3. You can get rid of excess fat in another area.

Depending on the size of your original breasts (or the size of breasts that you’re choosing to have reconstructed), you may get to “lose” a significant amount of fat in another area of your body where you may have some excess you’d like to get rid of. Say goodbye to those thunder thighs! While you won’t lose any weight in the transfer, you may find you like the distribution of your fat better than you did before.

4. You won’t have to undergo major surgery.

If you’ve had a mastectomy or plan to, you probably aren’t excited about having any other major surgeries in the near future. Luckily, fat grafting is a much more minor procedure, although you may have to have it done four to six times to get the amount of tissue you want in your breast.


Click “next” below to learn about some of the potential issues with fat grafting.

Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?
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