Can fat transfer cause breast cancer?

Can fat transfer cause breast cancer?

27th Jul 2021


Fat grafting is a plastic surgery procedure that has been used to enhance the breasts for about a decade now. It has a history of effectively and safely improving the contour and projection of the breasts. As the name suggests, the surgery involves the use of your body fat to deliver the desired outcomes. If you have excess fat in your body and want to achieve naturally projected and shapelier breasts, you may consider undergoing breast augmentation with fat transfer.

Hundreds of thousands of patients undergo breast augmentation with fat in the US each year. It is a safe procedure; however, there are still ambiguities in the minds of many people about the surgery. One of the common questions that many people ask is whether fat transfer can cause breast cancer.

Does fat transfer cause breast cancer?

Fat transfer is a cosmetic procedure that involves extraction of excess fat from different areas of your body through liposuction and injecting the fat into the breasts. The common fat donor areas include the abdomen, sides, butt, upper back, thigh, etc. The fat is processed and purified after being removed from these areas before it is transferred to the breasts with special needles. 

There has been this misconception about fat grafting that it can cause breast cancer. However, only some people believe in this misconception. Most people are already aware that there is no connection between fat transfer and breast cancer. 

According to multiple studies over the last ten years, women who got breast augmentation with fat transfer did not develop breast cancer or became at risk of breast cancer. Furthermore, it has been found that there isn’t even a distant risk of breast cancer resulting from fat transfer. Case-matches and retrospective reviews of medical records also underscore these findings. 

Also, studies found that there is no linkage between mortality resulting from breast cancer and fat transfer. What this means is that more than 98 percent of patients who died from breast cancer did not get fat transfer. Despite the favorable findings of no linkage between fat transfer and breast cancer, many people still fear the procedure. 

If you have smaller or poorly shaped breasts, you may consider undergoing fat transfer without fearing that you will get breast cancer because it has already been established by numerous studies that there exists no connection between breast cancer and breast augmentation with fat transfer.

Furthermore, many women go for breast reconstruction with fat transfer after undergoing breast cancer treatment. The procedure has been found to safely reconstruct breast cancer patients’ breasts. The good news is that studies have also found that fat transfer after breast cancer does not increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Also, fat transfer does not make it difficult to detect the recurrence of breast cancer. 

Things to consider when making decisions about breast augmentation with fat

There are many factors that the patient needs to consider before getting breast augmentation with fat. First of all, you need to keep in mind that fat transfer surgery improves the shape of the breasts, besides adding mild projection to them. It does not make your breasts large. For that, you need to get breast augmentation with implants. 

While breast augmentation with fat has a history of safely enhancing the breasts, you still need to be in good health to undergo the procedure. The surgery does not increase the risk of breast cancer, but there are other risks associated with the operation like all other invasive procedures. If you are suffering from serious health problems, you must share it with the plastic surgeon during the consultation session. 

The plastic surgeon will determine your candidacy by considering your health, existing breast shape and dimensions, and your aesthetic goals and expectations. Based on the findings, he will tell you if it is safe for you to achieve your goals with fat transfer. If you want to use fat transfer surgery for reconstruction of the breasts after breast cancer, then the operation would involve the use of different and more sophisticated fat grafting techniques. 

How is the surgical plan implemented?

The plastic surgeon will come with a complete surgical plan for you if you turn out to be a good candidate for fat transfer surgery. Breast augmentation with fat is preferably done under general anesthesia because it involves incisions and surgical trauma. Even though it is not as invasive and traumatic as breast augmentation with implants, the surgeon will still do everything to make sure you are comfortable during and after the surgery and are not exposed to severe risks.

It is vital that a board-certified anesthesiologist administers the anesthesia. After the anesthesia administration, the plastic surgeon will begin the operation by placing tiny incisions on the fat donor areas identified during the consultation session. He will then perform liposuction on those areas. Liposuction involves the insertion of a hollow tube called a cannula into the target area through the incision and back and forth movement of the cannula to release the fat from the surrounding tissues.

When the fat is dislodged, the surgeon will suction it out from the area with a suction pump or a special syringe connected to the cannula. The surgeon will then suture and close the incisions. He will repeat the same process on each target area until sufficient fat is extracted for transfer to the breasts. 

In the next major step, the plastic surgeon will process the collected fat by treating it in a centrifuge. This helps purify the fat collection before being transferred to the breasts. When the fat is cleaned, the surgeon will carefully graft each fat into the breasts. He will use a special needle to implement this step. This step takes the most time and is crucial for the achievement of your desired goals. The surgeon needs to be highly experienced and have a good sense of aesthetics and artistry to carve your breasts into the desired shape during this step. 

What are the risks of fat transfer to the breasts?

Fat transfer to the breasts does not cause breast cancer. Many years of studies have already verified this finding. However, this does not make the surgery free of every kind of risk. Fat transfer involves incisions, and like all invasive procedures, it entails risks. The dangers of the surgery can differ from patient to patient, depending on their health condition. For example, if you have severe diabetes, you may experience excessive bleeding during and after the surgery. Patients with a weak immune system will also be exposed to higher risks of infection. 

It is vital for the patient to discuss the risks with the surgeon in advance of the procedure. A good surgeon will always make sure that you are fit for the operation. If the risks are higher than the expected benefits, the surgeon will advise you to avoid going under the knife. It is crucial for you to understand that your health and life are more important than your aesthetic goals. You should never compromise your health and life.

However, the good news is that most patients are good candidates for fat transfer surgery if they are in good health and have realistic goals. Generally, the risks linked with this surgery include infection, bleeding, weak and slow wound healing, breast asymmetry, blood clotting, change or loss of breast sensation, and fat necrosis. While these risks exist, most patients who are in good health are at lower risk of these complications. 

If you are still fearful that fat transfer surgery can cause breast cancer, you should do your research and meet with your doctor. Be sure to access only reliable sources online and consult with a reputed medical professional to seek help. If you decide to go to a plastic surgeon, make sure he is board-certified and has extensive experience in breast augmentation with fat.


The breasts are the most critical aesthetic areas of the female body because they make you look feminine and beautiful. However, smaller and poorly shaped breasts can affect your appearance in negative ways. If your breasts are smaller and you want to add some projection to them, you may consider undergoing fat transfer to the breasts. This procedure entails lower risks than breast implant surgery, and it does not cause breast cancer. In this article, I have debunked the myth that fat transfer causes breast cancer. 

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