Breast Implants VS Breast Fat Transfer: Which Procedure is Better?


Year after year, breast augmentation is consistently one of the most popular aesthetic procedures performed around the world. Women who are interested in changing the size and shape of their breasts are soon faced with one of the most critical and personal decisions they must make about their surgery: breast implants vs breast fat transfer.

Breast augmentation with implants is an older approach that has been employed by plastic surgeons over decades. Fat transfer, also called fat grafting, is a more recent innovation that allows fat to be gathered from another part of the body using liposuction and injected into the breasts. So, which one is right for you?

As one of Sydney’s breast enhancement surgeons, Dr Ellis Choy, an Australian-trained Specialist Plastic Surgeon, combines education and experience with passion for his craft. A personal consultation with Dr Choy is required to determine which technique might be appropriate for you. The following guide can help you come to your consultation prepared to have an informed discussion about your options.

If You Want a Small ‘Boost’ With Natural Material: Breast Fat Transfer

The development of breast fat grafting techniques has been revolutionary for patients seeking natural enhancements to their appearance. Because the procedure is performed using material taken from the patient’s own body, the breasts will feel soft and have natural movement.

Breast fat grafting may be a good option for producing subtle and natural results, if that is your goal. However, it cannot achieve the dramatic size increases that some patients want. Women who are looking for a modest increase in breast size (one cup or less) are suitable candidates for a natural breast augmentation.

If You Want the Biggest Wow-Factor: Breast Implants

One of the most important factors to consider before a breast enhancement procedure is your personal goals. Dr Choy will ask you to describe your aesthetic preferences and you will have the opportunity to try on a surgical bra fitted with different implants to help the decision-making process.

If you’re looking for a substantial size increase, breast implants may be a good choice for you. Implants can achieve a significant increase in volume, projection and upper pole fullness regardless of a patient’s body type.

If You Want a Completely Natural Procedure: Breast Fat Transfer

Some women express concern about the consequences of having a medical device inside their body. Breast fat grafting avoids the potential for the complications that can accompany breast implants, such as rippling, rupturing or capsular contracture. It also eliminates the possibility of breast implants needing to be removed or replaced at some point in the future. With fat grafting, no foreign materials are introduced into the body. This is not mean the procedure has no risks — only that it does not have the risks associated with breast implants.

If You Want to Maximise Your Options: Breast Implants

Breast augmentation with implants offers more flexibility for both the patient and the surgeon. When implants are to be used, the consultation process involves a range of decisions that determine the ultimate outcome of the procedure. Together with Dr Choy, you will choose the type, shape, size and profile of your implants, as well as the incision location and placement technique that will be used during surgery. Results can be tailored to suit your unique anatomy and aesthetic preferences. Breast fat grafting does not allow for the same level of customisation.

If You Want to Shape Other Areas of Your Body Simultaneously: Breast Fat Transfer

The impact of augmentation with implants is limited to the breasts. With fat grafting, two areas of the body are addressed at the same time. The procedure augments the breasts while also slimming the donor area, yielding new contours in both places in one operation. Fat for a natural breast augmentation is normally harvested from the abdomen, flank or thigh. The success of this approach relies on choosing a surgeon with advanced understanding of both procedures, as well as superior judgment and technical skill.

If You Are Very Lean: Breast Implants

Breast enhancement done with fat grafting alone requires a significant amount of fat (300-400 cc per side, on average). Extremely thin patients may not have enough excess fat to harvest for the procedure. For these patients, breast augmentation with silicone implants is the better option. Silicone implants are often preferred over saline implants for patients who are thin and have little natural breast tissue. Dr Choy will gauge whether or not you have an adequate amount of fat to donate for a fat transfer breast augmentation during your in-person consultation.

If You Have a Low Tolerance for Scars: Breast Fat Transfer

Any time there is an incision, there will be a scar. How visible the scar ultimately ends up being depends on a number of factors, including how well you follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions and your body’s natural healing capacities. When implants are used, the incision is placed so that scarring can be concealed under most clothing and swimsuits. With fat grafting, there is minimal scarring on the breasts because injections are used. Small incisions are used to insert the liposuction cannula for the harvesting portion of the procedure.

If You Want More Predictable Results: Breast Implants

Breast implants are thoroughly researched medical devices. Because they have been extensively studied and in use for many years, surgeons have a relatively good understanding of the results a patient can expect to achieve based on their body type and the type of implant they choose.

Breast fat transfer is a newer approach. Its results are less predictable because not all of the fat will take, and the fat that does will grow and shrink according to the patient’s weight fluctuations. In addition, fewer surgeons are familiar with the fat grafting procedure.

Request a Consultation With Dr Ellis Choy

Dr Ellis Choy offers both breast augmentation with implants and breast fat grafting to patients in Sydney and Coffs Harbour. Since graduating from the University of Sydney in 1997, Dr Choy has honed his skills in cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery, as well as related body contouring procedures. Call Dr Choy’s practice on 02 8962 9388 to book a consultation or fill out our enquiry form today.