Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed today. Many women choose to get breast implants to increase their breast size and achieve a more proportional figure. While silicone and saline implants have traditionally been the go-to options, some women prefer more natural alternatives that don’t require surgery.
What are the options for natural breast enhancement?
There are a few different options for natural breast enhancement without implants:
- Breast enhancement pills and supplements
- Breast enhancement creams/serums
- Breast pumps and massagers
- Improved diet and exercise
Breast enhancement pills and supplements contain herbs like saw palmetto, wild yam, and fennel that may stimulate breast tissue growth when taken over time. Popular products include Total Curve, Breast Actives, and MaxBust9. While research is limited, some small studies have found that certain natural supplements may lead to modest breast growth for some women.
Breast enhancement creams and serums contain volumizing ingredients like estrogen-mimicking phytoestrogens that are applied topically to the breasts. Some examples are Brestrogen and Naturaful. The idea is that rubbing these products into the skin may stimulate circulation and promote tissue growth in the area. However, there is a lack of evidence that serums significantly increase breast size on their own.
Devices like breast pumps and massagers claim to enlarge breasts by stimulating blood flow and mimicking the suckling action of a baby. The goal is to stretch and expand tissue over time. Using a pump for 10-20 minutes 3-5 times per week may help breasts feel firmer and fuller. But it likely won’t dramatically increase cup size.
Lastly, improving your diet and fitness routine can maximize breast size by increasing muscle tone and encouraging fat storage in the breasts. Eating nutrient-rich foods high in estrogen and gaining weight strategically in the chest area enhances what you already have.
What about fat transfer breast augmentation?
Fat transfer breast augmentation uses liposuction to take fat from other parts of your body and inject it into your breasts. This is sometimes called a “natural breast augmentation.” During this surgical procedure, your plastic surgeon harvests fat using liposuction, purifies the fat, and then carefully reinjects it into your breasts.
This allows you to subtly increase your breast size—usually within 1 cup size—using your own natural fat. The results look very natural because it is your body fat. The procedure does not require breast implants.
However, about 30-80% of the transferred fat is reabsorbed by your body after surgery. Multiple fat grafting sessions are often needed to maintain your results long-term. It’s also not recommended for significant enlargement—a max of 1 cup size increase is typical.
How do fat transfer results compare to breast implants?
Fat transfer augmentation has some advantages compared to breast implants:
- Uses your natural fat so no foreign objects are needed
- Looks and feels natural
- Little scarring since fat is injected with a needle
- Less risk of capsular contracture
However, breast implants allow for much more dramatic enlargement – 2 or 3+ cup sizes bigger. Implants come in a wide range of predetermined sizes while fat transfer is limited by how much fat can be harvested and survive the transfer.
The table below compares the key differences between fat transfer vs implants:
|Breast Augmentation Method
|Your own body fat
|Silicone or saline implants
|Degree of Enlargement
|Subtle, up to 1 cup size
|Significant, 2+ cup sizes
|Number of Procedures
|Often 2-3 sessions needed
|Usually 1 procedure only
|Feel and Appearance
|Implants may give rounded, fake look
|Risk of Capsular Contracture
As you can see, breast implants allow for much more significant enlargement in just one surgery. But there are advantages to using your natural fat if you want a modest size increase and completely natural result.
What’s the process of getting a fat transfer breast augmentation?
The fat transfer procedure uses liposuction to remove fat, usually from your thighs, hips, abdomen, or buttocks. Your plastic surgeon will determine the best donor site for you.
The liposuction procedure involves inserting a cannula through small incisions into the target areas. The cannula suctions out small fat parcel from deep beneath the skin. This harvested fat is processed to isolate the highest quality fat cells and purify the tissue.
Next, the fat is carefully reinserted through incisions into your breasts using a multi-layer technique for optimal results. Your surgeon strategically places the grafted fat cells in small pockets throughout your breast tissue to support circulation and survival of the transferred fat.
The procedure takes 2-5 hours depending on the amount of fat transferred. You’ll have some swelling and bruising afterwards. Results are visible after about 3 months as inflammation resolves and some of the transferred fat is reabsorbed.
What are the risks and side effects?
Possible side effects and risks include:
- Reabsorption of 30-80% of transferred fat within the first year
- Loss of some breast volume over time as the body naturally reabsorbs fat
- Multiple fat grafting sessions needed to maintain results
- Irregularities or contours in the breast if fat is reabsorbed unevenly
- Cysts or calcification in the breast
- Fat embolism if fat enters a vein and travels to lungs
Bruising, swelling, and discomfort are common after a fat transfer. There’s also a small risk of infection anytime the skin barrier is broken. Choosing an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon can help minimize risks and complications.
Who is a good candidate for fat transfer breast augmentation?
The best candidates for fat transfer to the breasts are women who:
- Desire a subtle increase in breast size
- Want to use their own natural fat tissue
- Have enough excess body fat for harvesting
- Do not smoke or have other health conditions
- Have realistic expectations for the procedure
Fat transfers may help women restore volume after pregnancy or weight loss. It can also balance asymmetries or improve contour problems.
This is not an option for women who want very large, round “implant-like” breasts. The maximum cup size increase is around 1 size.
How much does fat transfer breast augmentation cost?
The average cost of fat transfer breast augmentation is $6,500 – $12,000 nationwide. However, prices vary regionally and from surgeon to surgeon.
Since multiple fat grafting sessions are often needed, your total costs for fat transfer to the breasts may end up being higher than a single breast augmentation with implants which costs $5,000 – $10,000 on average.
Many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans to break up the cost over time. Fat grafting to the breasts is considered cosmetic and not covered by insurance.
Fat transfer breast augmentation uses liposuction to take fat from your body and inject it into your breasts for subtle enlargement. It can increase breast size up to about 1 cup. While not a dramatic change, it does offer a safe, natural result.
The advantage of fat transfer is that it avoids breast implants and uses your own body fat. The downside is that multiple sessions are often needed and not all of the fat survives the transfer.
This is an option for women who want a modest increase in breast size using their natural fat. Those desiring very large, round breasts are still better candidates for standard breast augmentation with silicone or saline implants.
As with any procedure, it’s important to consult with an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. Be sure to discuss your goals, options, and recovery so you can make the most informed decision.