Fat transfer vs. implants for the butt and breasts

Fat transfer vs. implants for the butt and breasts

26th Aug 2019



Plastic surgery offers different methods to achieve similar results. For example, when it comes to augmenting different areas of the body such as the breasts and buttocks, we have not one but two procedures performed by plastic surgeons available nowadays. One of the procedures is known as the “all-natural” method to achieve an augmentation of an area of the body. This means that when all else fails (physical exercise, creams, massages, etc.), it is this procedure that can be performed on patients with long-lasting and visible results. This is called fat transfer. The procedure only uses the patient’s own fat cells which means that it is completely safe and efficient without having the complications associated with using implants. However, implants are used more for augmentation purposes as it delivers results that are easy to foresee and to sustain over time.

In this article, we will discuss fat transfer versus implants for the butt and breasts.


Overview of fat transfer

An important thing to know about fat transfer straight from the beginning is that not everyone is a suitable candidate for it. There is one important condition that needs to be fulfilled before being considered an eligible candidate for this surgery. This condition is to have a surplus of adipose tissue on other areas of the body that can be treated with liposuction. The areas from where fat is collected are called donor areas, and often we are talking about the abdomen, flanks, and even thighs. Patients interested in the procedure need to understand that it is necessary to be able to collect about ten pounds of fat from the donor areas to be able to perform a fat transfer with high chances of being successful. Of course, the required amount of fat is dependent on the area that we are trying to augment and the other physical characteristics of the patient. For example, the amount of fat necessary for a fat grafting to the breasts is less than what is required for a fat transfer to the butt. 

When fat transfer is performed, the plastic surgeon will perform liposuction on areas with an excess of fat. After the areas with a surplus of adipose tissue are corrected, the fat will go through a complex centrifugation process that eliminates the blood and impurities and only leaves the healthy and pure fat cells for the transfer. Then, the transfer can begin. 

When the transfer to the breasts or butt is performed, the plastic surgeon will make small incisions to be able to introduce a special syringe that will inject the purified fat. The fat will be injected into different areas of the breasts or butt in multiple layers. This technique is used to ensure a considerable amount of the fat injected survives the transfer. What we aim to achieve with the transfer is a nice shape of the area treated, more volume, but not necessarily a considerable augmentation. The breasts and buttocks can, however, look perkier. Hence the procedure is called the Brazilian butt lift when performed on the buttocks.

It is also important to mention that not all the fat that was injected during the procedure will survive in the new environment. A certain percentage that can be up to 30% will be reabsorbed by the body over the first two to three months. The plastic surgeon should make you aware of this during the pre-operative consultation so you can adjust your expectations and be able to estimate the results that can be achieved. 

Also, we should talk about the final results of fat transfer. These results are often visible after three months when the swelling and bruising have subsided and when the fat injected has developed a new blood network that will ensure its survival. This means that about three months after fat transfer, the area treated will be a bit smaller than immediately after the surgery. However, these are the results that will last over time. The results of lipofilling are durable and sustainable, but the patient needs to be committed to avoiding weight fluctuations. In case weight fluctuations occur, the results of the procedure can be altered, and the breasts or butt can become small again as a result of weight loss. 

Now let’s see what happens when implants are used to augment the butt or the breasts. 


Overview of implants

Breast implant surgery is among the most commonly performed procedures in the world, and this says a lot about the results achieved with the procedure. Butt implant surgery is also preferred by both men and women who are either ineligible for fat transfer or want a more considerable augmentation of the area.

Before anything else, we need to discuss the recommendation for implants. Implants are used to add more volume to the area. The aim is to augment the breasts or butt, but it can also be to correct asymmetries or other imperfections. Implants are recommended for patients who have suffered trauma on the breasts and butt and are left with visible consequences. 

The plastic surgeon will make measurements during the pre-operative consultation and tell the patient a suitable range for the volume of the implants. This is why it is never a good idea to go to the plastic surgeon’s office with preconceived ideas about the type and size of implants that you want. The volume of the implants can only be determined after extensive measurements and depending on the goals you are trying to achieve with the surgery. It is important to understand that getting implants that are not suitable for your body type or anatomy can result in complications such as implant visibility and palpability through the skin as well as unnatural results. 

In many cases, we say that the results achieved with fat transfer are completely natural, but the same can be said about implant surgery, with the condition that the procedure is performed by a talented, experienced board-certified plastic surgeon who has chosen the type of implants to be used carefully. 

Implant surgery entails incisions that are more considerable in size compared to fat transfer. When the implants are inserted into the breasts, the incisions will be positioned around the areola, in the inframammary fold, or in the axilla. When the implants are inserted into the buttocks, the incision/s are often in the intragluteal fold and are well-masked. The incisions left behind are permanent and can be visible in case abnormal or bad scarring occurs. This is why it is important to schedule and attend the follow-up consultations to give the plastic surgeon the chance to monitor your recovery and cicatrization process.


Fat transfer and implant surgery

Patients interested in getting one of these augmentation procedures for the butt or breasts should be aware of the fact that the procedures can’t be performed in combination when aiming to enhance both areas. This means that butt and breast surgery can’t be performed at the same time, whatever the procedures might be. This is because the patient has to avoid sleeping or to rest on the operated area for a minimum of three weeks; otherwise, the implants might shift and the fat might die.

However, the patient can have combined procedures performed on one area of the body. This means that we can perform fat transfer to the breasts together with breast implant surgery, and the same is valid for the buttocks. More than this, this is actually a popular practice nowadays. 



There are two procedures that can be performed with the purpose of augmenting the butt and breasts. The procedures can’t be performed on the butt and breasts in the same operation, but they can be combined to treat one area of the body. Fat transfer is used for patients with an excess of adipose tissue in other areas of the body. The fat is extracted with liposuction and purified and then reinjected into the breasts and buttocks. The results are easily sustained over time with the condition to avoid weight fluctuations. 

Implant surgery, either performed on the butt or breasts, entails incisions that are more significant in size. The incisions are often placed in areas of the body that can be easily masked with clothing or hidden in the natural folds of the body. 

The plastic surgeon will be the one recommending the best procedure that will help you achieve your aesthetic goals during the pre-operative consultation. 


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