top of page

Achieving Natural Looking Breast with the Hybrid Use of Fat Grafting and Implants

Over the past decade, a multitude of investigators have intricately detailed the successful integration of adipose tissue grafting in advanced plastic surgery procedures. The groundbreaking concept of fat micrografting is attributed to the pioneering work of Coleman, who initially introduced the revolutionary technique of liposculpture, primarily focusing on facial applications. Subsequently, the scope expanded to encompass breast and body grafting, marking a transformative era in reconstructive surgery.

The paradigm of micrografting witnessed further refinement through the seminal work of Yoshimura and colleagues, particularly in their landmark article elucidating the nuances of cell-assisted lipotransfer for cosmetic breast augmentation. Despite the commendable progress in fat grafting, persistent concerns regarding its impact on postoperative breast architecture surveillance emerged. Addressing these concerns, Delay and colleagues conducted comprehensive studies, demonstrating that fat grafting does not impede mammographic interpretation.

Further radiological validation was provided by Rubin and colleagues, who showcased that breast fat grafting not only resulted in fewer radiographic abnormalities but also improved Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) scores. This improvement was noteworthy when compared with traditional reduction mammoplasty, a widely accepted procedure with more aggressive follow-up recommendations.

Cameron and colleagues corroborated these findings through their series of patients treated with the CBA technique, reaffirming the safety and efficacy of fat grafting in breast augmentation. The transformative contributions of Khouri and colleagues introduced the innovative BRAVA device, synergistically enhancing fat engraftment by expanding recipient site capacity and improving breast vascularity.

The concept of composite breast augmentation, involving the concurrent utilization of breast implants and autologous fat grafting, represents a sophisticated strategy. This approach seamlessly integrates the advantages of implant-based augmentation with the transformative potential offered by fat remodeling. Particularly noteworthy is its applicability in thin patients with diminished skin flap thickness, obviating the need for retromuscular implant placement. In this blog, we will dive deeper this technique and how this technique can result natural looking results.

Why is Composite Breast Augmentation used?

The Composite Breast Augmentation (CBA) technique offers a notable advantage by granting surgeons the ability to sculpt the breast shape without an absolute reliance on specific anatomic implants. This flexibility is particularly advantageous as it mitigates the need for anatomic implants, thereby addressing complications associated with implant rotation. Instead, the surgeon can utilize round implants while achieving the desired anatomic shape through the strategic addition of fat grafting.

The adoption of anatomic implants has significantly decreased from 50% to less than 10% following the integration of CBA into their surgical practice. The exception to this trend involves the remaining 10% of patients with a reduced inframammary fold (IMF) distance of less than 3 to 4 centimeters, who still benefit from the use of anatomic implants. CBA introduces enhanced flexibility in implant selection for the surgeon. In the absence of fat grafting, the dimensions of the implant must be meticulously tailored to the patient, leaving a limited margin for error. The surgeon's latitude in choosing an appropriate implant is expanded when CBA is performed, allowing for more adaptable decision-making.

What are the advantages of CBA?

Versatility and Precision: The amalgamation of synthetic implants and autologous fat heralds a new era of versatility and precision in breast augmentation. This dual modality not only augments breast volume but also introduces a natural contouring element, allowing surgeons to navigate individual anatomical intricacies with enhanced finesse. The nuanced precision inherent in this approach empowers surgeons to tailor interventions to the unique profiles and preferences of each patient.

Complication Rates and Safety: A comprehensive examination of outcomes reveals a notably low overall complication rate of 7.9%. This attests to the safety and efficacy of CBA, positioning it as a formidable alternative to traditional implant-based methods. The study underscores the procedural adaptability, with the mean volume of fat grafting per breast reflecting a spectrum tailored to individual patient requirements and anatomical considerations.

Efficiency and Patient Satisfaction: An exemplary facet emerges in the mean number of lipofilling sessions per breast, ranging from 1.3 to 3.2. This signifies the procedural efficiency, with an average of 1.7 sessions achieving optimal patient satisfaction. The streamlined nature of the intervention not only minimizes the need for excessive sessions but also underscores procedural convenience and a patient-centric focus. This judicious balance ensures that aesthetic goals are met with optimal efficacy and patient well-being.

How is CBA carried out?

Step 1: Infiltration

In the meticulous orchestration of operative procedures, the art of infiltration extends beyond its conventional role as a means of analgesia, encompassing strategic considerations for liposuction. This critical preparatory step involves the precise amalgamation of 400 mL of normal saline, 40 mL of 1% xylocaine enriched with adrenaline, 0.4 mg of adrenaline, and 7.5 mg of ropivacaine. Beyond the customary benefits of pain management, this bespoke infiltration solution serves as a hemostatic agent, optimizing the surgical canvas for subsequent intricate maneuvers. The judicious composition of vasoactive agents demonstrates the advanced understanding that anesthetic interventions can be tailored not only for patient comfort but also for procedural efficacy.

Step 2: Fat Harvesting

The pursuit of adipose tissue for grafting demands a level of finesse exemplified by the selection of a conventional liposuction cannula with a diameter calibrated at 3 to 4 mm. Executed under carefully regulated low pressure and facilitated by a sterile suction-assisted device, this process is not merely a harvest but a nuanced extraction. The harvested fat undergoes meticulous decantation into 10-mL syringes, and a brief yet critical centrifugation at 3000 revolutions per minute follows. This process not only enhances the purity and viability of the adipose material but also showcases an advanced surgical understanding that extends beyond basic grafting principles to the optimization of graft quality.

Step 3: Insertion of Implants

The artistry of implant insertion unfolds through a transaxillary approach, characterized by a 4- to 5-cm L-shaped incision strategically placed at the convergence of hair-bearing skin in the axillary region. The surgical choreography that ensues involves a meticulous dissection in the premuscular, retrofascial plane. Illuminated retractors, affording real-time visualization, guide this intricate journey, ensuring precision in implant pocket creation. Aseptic conditions are not only maintained through glove changes, minimal implant handling, and a gentamicin bath but are also underscored by a thorough understanding of the microbiological intricacies to prevent postoperative complications.

Step 4: Multilayered Wound Closure

The culmination of implant insertion is a carefully choreographed multilayered wound closure, an artistic symphony conducted with a 3/0 monofilament suture for fascial closure, a 4/0 slow-resorbing suture for the subcutaneous layer, and a swiftly resorbing 4/0 suture for the intradermal layer. This meticulous closure is more than a technicality; it is an homage to the precision demanded by advanced aesthetic and surgical standards. The suture selection and layering strategy exhibit an advanced comprehension of tissue dynamics and healing, transcending the rudimentary aspects of closure into an elevated surgical art form.

Step 5: Fat Grafting

The interlude of fat grafting that ensues after implant insertion introduces a 16 or 18 gauge, 15 cm cannula with a singular orifice positioned just inferior to its tip. This surgical sonnet is not merely about the physical act of grafting but a nuanced dance with anatomy. Stab incisions, strategically placed in the medial aspect of the inframammary fold and the superomedial edge of the areola, serve as portals for radial grafting. The nuances of fat grafting extend beyond concealment to the prevention of aesthetic pitfalls, such as the "double bubble" deformity. This understanding is a testament to an advanced comprehension of the interplay between soft tissue dynamics and aesthetic outcomes.

Step 6: Dressings and Postoperative Management

The epilogue of this surgical odyssey is inscribed in the meticulous realm of dressings and postoperative stewardship, a testament to a commitment to patient well-being that goes beyond the operating theater. Adhesive polyurethane dressings, strategically applied for a judicious week, emerge as active participants in the postoperative narrative, optimizing the environment for wound healing while mitigating the risk of implant displacement. The sanctity of these dressings, complemented by the vigilance of compressive bandages and medically ordained bras, represents more than a postoperative routine; it symbolizes an unwavering commitment to the art and science of comprehensive patient care.

How are the complications of CBA managed?

In the realm of this surgical venture, complications emerge as rare anomalies, aligning with the nuanced landscape of breast augmentation procedures. The spectrum encompasses hematoma, implant displacement, and periprosthetic contracture, issues addressed with a sophisticated understanding of procedural intricacies. Hemostatic mastery during surgery and meticulous postoperative compliance, including the disciplined use of a medical bra, serve as bulwarks against potential complications. Timely evacuation of hematomas is emphasized, as prolonged blood-implant contact is posited as a significant contributor to implant contracture. Continuous visual scrutiny of the surgical field throughout the procedure exemplifies an advanced commitment to hemostatic precision. Early postoperative implant displacement finds resolution through strategic external manipulation and a regimented 3-week compressive bandage application. Periprosthetic contracture management pivots from massage to surgical interventions like capsulotomy if warranted. Notably, the meticulously detailed technique reports a notable absence of wound infections or implant displacements, attesting to its robustness.

Late complications, principally contracture, maintain a commendably low incidence, reflecting the reciprocal correlation with low rates of hematoma and infection. The potential for fat atrophy in a cohort characterized by slender body types with limited fat reservoirs for grafting demands an adept equilibrium between grafting necessities and the specter of donor site morbidity. This surgical series underscores the rarity of implant visibility complications necessitating further intervention, standing at a minimal 2.5%, a testament to the judicious application of this advanced technique.

Step 1: Postprocedural Care

Overnight hospitalization emerges as a sagacious choice to vigilantly address immediate concerns, with specific attention to potential hematomas. Antibiotics, administered intravenously during induction (2 g cefazolin), serve as a proactive measure, with no further antibiotic requisites. A transient compressive bandage application during hospitalization is succeeded by the transition to a surgical bra on the first postoperative day. This prescribed continuous usage for the ensuing 3 weeks exemplifies a sophisticated postoperative care paradigm. Analgesic management, entrusted to oral medications such as paracetamol on an as-needed basis, underscores an advanced approach to patient comfort.

Step 2: Rehabilitation and Recovery

Patient guidance extends to a nuanced reintegration into professional commitments, with a return to work suggested within 2 to 3 days, contingent upon individual employment exigencies. A steadfast 6-week prohibition from strenuous activities reflects a prudent approach to support an unhurried convalescence. The patient education component transcends conventional boundaries, emphasizing not only routine massage but also the daily regimen of shoulder abduction to forestall the emergence of axillary contracture. This holistic approach signifies an elevated standard in rehabilitation and recovery paradigms, bespoke to the intricate contours of this advanced surgical endeavor.

Study: Radiologic Evaluation of Women Following Cosmetic Breast Augmentation with Silicone Implants and Fat Grafting

In the landscape of breast aesthetics, autologous fat grafting has evolved as a nuanced adjuvant in reconstructive breast surgery, sparking debates surrounding its application in cosmetic breast augmentation. This study delves into the intricate realm of mammographic screening challenges arising from the coexistence of silicone implants and autologous fat grafting. The primary concern revolves around the radiographic interpretation of calcifications generated by the deposited fat adjacent to implants, prompting an exploration of potential variations in the BI-RADS score. The study seeks to discern if radiologists can differentially classify calcifications as benign or malignant, with a paramount objective of refining patient care by circumventing unwarranted morbidity, such as superfluous imaging or biopsies.

The methodological scaffold involves a meticulous examination of pre and postoperative mammograms from 52 women undergoing cosmetic breast augmentation with silicone implants and autologous fat grafting. Radiologists, armed with varying degrees of awareness regarding the patients' surgical history, meticulously scrutinize the mammograms using a bespoke questionnaire. This comprehensive instrument encapsulates the BI-RADS score, radiographic delineations, professional impressions, and clinical recommendations.

A panoramic view of the results reveals the scrutiny of 57 postoperative mammograms, embracing an average follow-up period of 29 months (range 0-72). The unequivocal finding is the consistent assignment of a benign BI-RADS assessment category 2 to all mammograms, mirroring the initial radiologists' assessments. Despite nuanced disparities in radiographic interpretations and impressions, the radiologists, when blinded to surgical histories, unanimously refrain from advocating additional imaging or biopsies.

The pivotal revelations unearthed by this study transcend the confines of procedural safety in cosmetic breast augmentation, specifically within the amalgamation of silicone implants and autologous fat grafting. The apprehensions surrounding mammographic screening reliability are allayed as the findings affirm the safety and efficacy of autologous fat grafting in this particular context. Radiologists showcase a discerning capability, reliably distinguishing between calcifications associated with fat grafting and those harboring suspicion for breast cancer. The study underscores a symbiotic balance, assuring patients undergoing this transformative procedure of a safeguarded trajectory devoid of undue burdens and unwarranted additional morbidity. This nuanced exploration elevates the discourse on autologous fat grafting in cosmetic breast augmentation, marrying precision with patient-centric outcomes in an advanced clinical paradigm.

In conclusion, CBA technique stands as an avant-garde approach, mirroring short-term complications of standard implant-based techniques while significantly mitigating the risk of long-term complications. The seamless integration of synthetic implants and autologous fat grafting epitomizes a novel and clinically impactful augmentation strategy, marking a paradigmatic evolution in the landscape of aesthetic breast surgery. This nuanced approach, rooted in precision and safety, heralds a new frontier in breast augmentation, promising enhanced outcomes for the discerning patient.


Combined Use of Implant and Fat Grafting for Breast Augmentation (2015)

Radiologic Evaluation of Women Following Cosmetic Breast Augmentation with Silicone Implants and Fat Grafting (2014)

Composite breast augmentation: soft-tissue planning using implants and fat (2013)

Outcomes in Hybrid Breast Reconstruction: A Systematic Review (2022)


Discover the Science behind Breast Augmentation & Breast Lifting

in our upcoming Aesthetic Breast Augmentation & Breast Lifting Mini Fellowship:

IFAAS Mini Visiting Fellowship (Observation)

Korean Advanced Aesthetic Surgeries:

Aesthetic Breast Augmentation & Breast Lifting

Mar 25-26, 2024 - Seoul, South Korea - [Register Now]


More Upcoming Global Events


bottom of page