If you’re looking to augment your breast size, we’ve got great news: implants aren’t you’re only viable option. Doctors are increasingly taking fat via liposuction from one part of the body (tummy, thighs, love handles) and re-injecting it into the breasts for enhanced shape and volume.
The idea of moving fat from one place to another on the body isn’t new; it’s just one that we’re hearing more about lately because aesthetic medicine has made significant improvements in recent years. The biggest challenge that has faced doctors with fat transfer to the breasts is the low survival rate reported of the fat cells that are transferred. Fewer fat cells mean less volume. Fat transfer of any kind is extremely technique dependent and if fat cells aren’t handled with care and able to successfully connect to a blood source within a short period of time, they simply don’t survive.
Despite the challenges, autologous (your own) fat has been shown to add a modest amount of volume to the breasts. But how to improve results? One breast expert believes the answer is pre-expanding the breast pocket to make room within the breast for the transplanted fat cells to survive. American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) member Surgeon Roger K. Khouri, MD, Key Biscayne, Fla., invented the Brava system, which is a bra-type device that uses vacuum pressure to expand the breast pocket. Here’s how it works: When the Brava system is used for several weeks before the fat transplant procedure, not only does it gradually increase the breast pocket, but it also creates a structured framework for the newly transplanted cells to make themselves at home.
Will “preparing” the breasts for the fat transplant procedure with the Brava system enhance results? Significantly. That’s according to a recent study published in the May issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the medical journal of the ASPS.
The study found that fat injection to the breasts after treatment with the Brava expansion system resulted in a significant increase in transfer survival compared with previous studies of fat transfer alone. The Brava system uses a suction pump device prior to surgery to expand the breasts and prepare them for the fat transfer procedure.
Dr. Khouri led the study, which enrolled 81 female patients who wanted breast augmentation without implants. A total of 71 of those patients used the Brava system before undergoing fat transfer to the breast.
Dr. Khouri and his team reported that breast volume increased by an average of 230 cc (1 cup) in women who used the Brava + fat transfer procedure when evaluated at the 1-year post procedure point, a significant difference compared with other studies without the Brava system that reported an average of 130 cc.
The authors explain the difference in volume was due to increased fat survival. MRI scans were taken before and after surgery and showed an 80% survival of fat cells post procedure with the Brava system compared with 55% shown in other studies, supporting their claim that pre-expansion with Brava makes room for fat survival.
Patients experienced no major side effects or complications.
According to the authors, you could double your original breast size with a single procedure if you use the Brava system prior to the procedure. What’s more, there’s no incision anywhere on or near the breast.
Click here for additional Brava study results.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, part of Wolters Kluwer Health.