Natural breast augmentation or lipoaugmentation is the practice of using a patients own fat for enhancement of the breast. This was a hot topic at the 2011 ASAPS meeting in Boston. There are only a handful of actual plastic surgeons offering natural breast augmentation (although there are many unqualified doctors) and all would admit that the short and long term risks of this are poorly understood. What is known for sure is that if this is done poorly, disastrous, irreparable damage can occur. I went to several panels looking at the safety and effectiveness of this process. I walked away with more questions than answers.
- Does natural breast augmentation work? Yes. Although depending on the skill of the surgeon, the results can range from incredible to disastrous. Very few skilled surgeons are currently doing natural breast augmentation.
- Does natural breast augmentation cause cancer – no one knows. Theoretically, this is a very big risk.
- Does natural breast augmentation interfere with mammograms? Yes, but probably no more than a breast reduction and most good radiologists can distinguish between fat that didn’t survive and early breast cancer
- What is the best way to harvest fat to maximize viability? There is a lot of research ongoing, but at this time we don’t know.
- How long does natural breast augmentation last? We don’t know for sure, but my experience in fat grafting elsewhere would lead me to believe it should last forever.
Don’t expect to see this Utah plastic surgeon offering “natural breast augmentation” anytime soon, particularly when there is a well understood alternative.