Staged Fat Grafting

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Also known as autologous fat transfer, staged fat grafting is a reconstruction technique that uses a patients own excess fat to create their reconstructed breast. During this procedure, fatty tissues is removed from other areas of the body, such as a patient’s thighs, buttocks, and abdomen, via liposuction. The tissue is then processed and injected into the chest to recreate the breast(s).

Who is a Candidate for Staged Fat Grafting?

As one of the most minimally-invasive reconstructive surgeries, some patients elect to have staged fat grafting, as it doesn’t leave any large surgical incisions. Additionally, some patients required more volume than can be acquired with a single flap, but do not want the additionally scarring associated with a Stacked Flap.

However, there are many types of breast reconstruction and every patient’s needs and aesthetic desires are different. This is why it is important to consult with your physician—who will consider your medical history and perform a physical exam—to determine which reconstruction technique would be the best solution for you.

The Staged Fat Grafting Procedure

Patients undergoing staged fat grafting are placed under IV sedation or general anesthesia. The surgeon uses liposuction to remove fat from the donor area—typically the abdomen, buttocks or thighs. The extracted tissue is processed into a liquid on site, and is injected into a tissue flap that serves as a base breast mound for the procedure. The flap serves as a matrix for the fat grafting, which means that a tissue expander may be needed before and after the surgery to ensure success.

Depending on the desired shape and volume of the breasts, more than one treatment may be needed to meet the requested aesthetic goals. Additionally, the body may reabsorb some of the injected fat, resulting in lost volume. Up to three fat grafting procedures can be performed to increase fullness or replace volume lost due to absorption.

Benefits of Staged Fat Grafting

The procedure can provide:

  • Rebuilt breasts after mastectomy with no incisions
  • Natural looking and feeling breasts
  • Restored femininity and sexuality

Recovery After Staged Fat Grafting

Staged fat grafting does not require any surgical incisions and is thus performed as an outpatient procedure, requiring little to no recovery time. Many patients return to normal activity after a couple of days post-procedure, and are able to enjoy soft breasts that feel natural. Some patients have also reported some maintained/restored sensation after their fat grafting procedure, but this is not the case for every patient. This is why it is imperative that you consult with your medical care provider to determine which procedure can offer you the best results.

The Doctors at My Houston Surgeons have either authored or reviewed and approved this content. Page last updated:

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