What to Expect From Your Fat Grafting Procedure

What to Expect From Your Fat Grafting Procedure

If you’re facing breast reconstruction after surgery or treatment for breast cancer, or if you’ve been considering surgery to obtain fuller or more shapely breasts, a fat grafting procedure could be the solution for you. 

Fat grafting, or autologous fat transfer surgery, takes excess fat from one area of your body and moves it to your breasts. 

Fat transfers not only increase breast size and correct breast shape, but they can also repair scar deformities after lumpectomy or reconstructive surgery and help repair radiation damage.  

In addition, there’s no risk of your body rejecting the transferred tissue since it comes from your own body. Other benefits of fat grafting include:

At Matthew J. Lynch, MD Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in East Windsor, New Jersey, we use fat grafting to enhance the size, shape, and symmetry of breasts without the need for artificial implants. And, as an added bonus, this procedure helps reduce fatty deposits in problem areas, like the buttocks, hips, thighs, or belly. 

As a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive training in aesthetic and restorative breast procedures as well as microsurgery and reconstructive oncological surgery, Dr. Lynch provides excellent cosmetic results and post-surgical outcomes. 

While this surgery is generally right for patients in good health with sufficient excess fat for transfer, the best way to learn if the procedure is right for you is by scheduling an appointment with a plastic surgeon. In the meantime, keep reading to learn what you can expect from a fat grafting procedure. 

What to expect before your surgery

Before your fat grafting surgery, you can expect to meet with Dr. Lynch to discuss the procedure in detail and review results from previous patients. Dr. Lynch talks with you about your goals for the fat transfer and goes over your medical history and any current issues to ensure the surgery is right for you.

You can expect Dr. Lynch to examine your breasts and possible areas for harvesting fat. In addition, a team member takes photographs of your body to aid in the creation of a custom surgery plan. 


This personalized fat grafting plan details your goals for your post-surgery breasts in terms of shape and size, as well as the improvements to your body through the harvesting of excess fat. It also marks the places where Dr. Lynch will make incisions during your procedure.

What to expect during your surgery

Fat grafting surgery is almost always performed under general anesthesia, so you won’t be awake or aware during the surgery. Once you’re comfortably resting, Dr. Lynch uses liposuction to remove fat from the target areas. 


During this part of your surgery, a thin tube, called a cannula, suctions out excess fat cells. Dr. Lynch then processes the extracted fat to remove dead skin cells, excess fluid, and other cellular debris so that only viable fat tissue remains. 


Finally, Dr. Lynch injects the processed fat tissue into the breasts, adding volume and fullness  and adjusting any issues with symmetry. The surgical team then places compression wraps or garments on the donor and recipient sites, and you’re moved into the recovery room. 


The entire procedure usually takes 3-4 hours, though the exact time depends on personal factors. 

What to expect after your surgery

What to expect after your fat grafting surgery and the details of your recovery depend on many factors, such as the number of donor sites, the size of reconstruction and augmentation, your age, and more. 


It’s normal to experience some bruising, swelling, and soreness for several weeks, but most patients have little or manageable pain. You’re encouraged to walk as soon as possible, and most patients can return to office work and normal light activities after about a week. 


After surgery, you need to avoid putting pressure on your breasts, so you can expect to sleep on your back and avoid upper body exercise and lifting heavy objects for several weeks. 


Most patients can stop wearing compression garments after about two weeks, though swelling and bruising can persist for a month or longer, with results improving as the swelling subsides. A return to normal exercise is generally allowed after about six weeks. 


Because your body naturally absorbs some of the grafted fat, some patients may benefit from a second fat grafting procedure to achieve their desired results. This is typically scheduled several months after the initial procedure. 

To learn more about fat grafting for breast reconstruction or augmentation, schedule an appointment by calling the office of Matthew J. Lynch, MD Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in East Windsor, New Jersey, or request a consultation online now.

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