Breast augmentations have been popular for 50 years. The most common method places silicone bags filled with either silicone gel or salt water into the breasts. While there are all sorts of issues with this technique, it is generally successful and the vast majority of women have good results. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could just take a little fat from your belly or thighs and put it in your breasts? Most people have plenty of fat to spare, so the operation sounds wonderful.
Way back in the 1980s, plastic surgeons started injecting fat into breasts. But when fat is injected into the breasts, a lot of it doesn’t survive. When that happens, the body makes scars with little flecks of calcium. Those little calcium deposits can look like cancer on a mammogram and that can lead to unnecessary biopsies. Accordingly, over 2 decades ago, the American Society of Plastic surgeons decided that increasing the size of breasts by injecting your own fat was way too dangerous and they banned the procedure.
But in the last few years, there’s been a groundswell of plastic surgeons that say it’s ok to inject fat into breasts, claiming that newer mammogram techniques can distinguish between the microcalcifications that are dangerous from the ones that are not. The problem is that many doctors don’t think that’s true. And a recent study reconfirmed that a high proportion of women require biopsies after fat grafting because of confusing mammograms.
Since 11% of women get breast cancer, anything that makes mammograms harder to interpret is a bad thing. There is no question that fat grafting to the breasts, as compelling as it may seem, makes breast cancer surveillance more dangerous. My advice? Don’t have fat injected into your breasts.