Implants or fat grafting for breast augmentation?

Amaris B.

Last Update:

November 6, 2022

While breast implants continue to be popular, autologous fat grafting to breasts has been gaining ground in recent years. Fat grafting to breasts, or fat transfer could help you achieve natural-looking and natural-feeling breasts with an hourglass figure simultaneously.

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While breast implants continue to be popular, autologous fat grafting to breasts has been gaining ground in recent years. Fat grafting to breasts, or fat transfer could help you achieve natural-looking and natural-feeling breasts with an hourglass figure simultaneously.

Implants or fat grafting for breast augmentation? | Amaris B. Clinic Dr Ivan Puah

A two-in-one body sculpting and breast augmentation procedure at Amaris B. Clinic Singapore, ADR-C Breast Enhancement takes fat from the patient’s own fat source and re-injects it into the breasts for breast size incrementation, subtle lifting and firming, asymmetry correction or revolumisation.

Breast implants have served women since the first procedure was performed in 1962. Many were likely leaning towards breast implants when television shows like Baywatch and magazine supermodels made “boob jobs” fashionable in the 1990s.

Today, fat grafting is increasingly becoming a mainstream breast augmentation alternative to implants.

Double-duty for breasts and body

Implants or fat grafting for breast augmentation? | Amaris B. Clinic Dr Ivan Puah

Dr Ivan Puah, medical director of Amaris B. Clinic and one of the first few doctors in Singapore to introduce autologous fat grafting to Singapore in 2008, spoke in detail about this procedure.

“Fat grafting is relatively unknown locally; many women were unaware that there was an avenue apart from breast implantation back then. Some women wanted a bigger breast size, but the thought of a foreign object in their body and the unnatural and ‘fake’ appearance held them back – until fat grafting came along,” he shares.

Indeed, removing unwanted fat and repurposing it to other body parts where it is deficient is very appealing as you can remove stubborn fat from your problem areas to enhance another area. And all this can be done in a single session. This breast augmentation method is desirable to those of us who have exercised and starved through fat loss programs only to find our bellies just came along for the ride while our breasts got left behind at the gym.

Stress is another factor that may induce weight loss in all the wrong places – cheeks and buttocks tend to hollow out, making us look older. In fact, the beauty of fat grafting goes beyond just adding volume to the breasts.

“During the process, I will take viable fat sources from areas such as the abdomen or thighs via modern liposuction with the MDC-Sculpt lipo technique,” explains Dr Puah. “With this technique, quality fat can be extracted, and the patient’s skin can be tightened. After that, the fat tissues are cleansed, purified and re-injected into areas that need a boost. Areas that will benefit from fat grafting include the breasts for breast augmentation, the buttocks for lifting and volumisation, and the face to treat sunken cheeks and temples, smooth out facial lines and rejuvenate ageing hands.”

Dr Puah has received training in syringe liposculpture, fat grafting and thread lift under renowned French plastic surgeon Dr Pierre François Fournier.

Under the care of Dr Puah and his medical team, your procedure will be carried out in their MOH-accredited operating theatre. An anaesthesiologist will take care of you during the surgery while you’re under twilight sedation (not general anaesthesia), ensuring you’re comfortable, relaxed and safe. Postoperative care is provided by a comprehensive post-surgical care team.

Advantages of fat grafting over implants

Implants or fat grafting for breast augmentation? | Amaris B. Clinic Dr Ivan Puah

Research has been ongoing on the use of adipose tissues for rejuvenation, enhancement and anti-ageing purposes. A study done in 2017 proved that adipose (fat) tissue is biocompatible and easily obtainable. Repurposing your body fat works better than foreign substances such as implants since it is ‘natural’, eliminating the chance of rejection and allergic reaction.

Fat grafting may also be able to address some of the issues women face with breast implants. Saline and silicone implants present some hallmarks that give them away, especially in later years, as the patient ages and their body changes.

For example, breast implants look like symmetrical orbs, while natural breasts are pear-shaped and rarely the same shape and size. The positioning of implants on the chest is another giveaway. Implants also don’t move like natural fat in the breast tissue and tend to be static. Some women have also found that their nipples have somewhat moved away from the equator after the procedure and noticed stretch marks or ‘rippling’ on their breasts.

Patients may also suffer from breast implant illness (BII) that presents symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, brain fog and dry eyes. This has led to a rise in breast explant surgery.

A natural and successful fat grafting result lies in the hands of the doctor

Implants or fat grafting for breast augmentation? | Amaris B. Clinic Dr Ivan Puah

“Fat grafting is more than just a ‘copy and paste’ surgery. I view it as a piece of art where it involves 30% science and 70% art,” says Dr Puah. “To achieve natural-looking and long-lasting results, the procedure requires a doctor with an excellent artistic perception, attention to detail, a good understanding of body anatomy and years of experience. The doctor must know precisely the amount of fat that needs to be extracted, the best donor site to remove it from, and finally, applying the correct surgical techniques and approach to achieve the optimal aesthetic results for the patient.”

His clinic has been awarded ‘Body Sculpting of the Year in Asia Pacific’ for four years in a row by GHT Asia.

When it comes to choosing a doctor for your fat grafting treatment, here are some of the criteria to take note of:

  • It is essential to choose a doctor who is patient, with good interpersonal and communication skills, and who can understand your needs and body goals.
  • Choose a doctor that you are comfortable with, who understands the intricacy of fat grafting and places the patient’s safety as a top priority.
  • Only doctors accredited with liposuction licences in Singapore are allowed to conduct fat grafting.
  • Ask to see the before and after photos of cases that the doctor has performed. An experienced doctor should have performed and achieved consistent results for his patients.
  • Not only does the doctor play a role, but your pre-surgery and post-surgery preparation and care are also equally important, hence choose a doctor whose team of medical personnel are experienced, knowledgeable and helpful.

Breast enhancement via fat grafting is the union of science and art. For optimal results and a high patient satisfaction index, opting for a highly-trained and experienced doctor who understands how and where to apply the technique of fat tissue injection into the subcutaneous skin layers is imperative.

Do not shortchange yourself by choosing a doctor who doesn’t possess extensive experience with a diverse portfolio and a good track record over a price tag.

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