Breast enlargement: Implants or lipofilling?

Written by: Top Doctors®
Published: | Updated: 12/12/2023
Edited by: Top Doctors®

In this article, we're looking at breast enlargement and two different methods; breast implants and lipofilling.

Woman thinking about whether to have breast enlargement using lipofilling or breast implants

What's the difference between breast implants and lipofilling?

Lipofilling uses the patient's own fat. The process consists of extracting fat from an area with excess fat, with the abdomen, buttocks and legs being the most frequent areas of extraction, and using it to fill and increase the size of the breast. The main advantage is that lipofilling remodels the figure of the breast in a non-invasive method that is carried out with local anaesthesia.


Compared to having prosthesis, recovery is faster however, unlike breast augmentation with prosthetics, there is the disadvantage that the fat is reabsorbed differently and in different time frames depending on each patient, making it difficult to predict the final size. Lipofilling is usually more advisable for small breast augmentations, to correct flaccidity or to fill an empty breast.


With breast implants, a silicone cohesive gel implant is placed under the chest muscle. With this procedure, the patient can choose what size they want their breasts. The operation is performed under general anaesthetic and for safety reasons the patient has to remain in hospital for 24 hours. The results are immediately visible. 



Which is the recommended treatment?

It depends, of course, on the outcome each patient wants to achieve from breast enlargement. Today lipofilling is used for women who want small increases, or who have slightly sagging or flaccid breasts and want to reverse this. Lipofilling offers excellent results to correct sagging and has become fashionable for women who have been mothers and notice their breasts have drooped.



Mummy makeover

It's what is known as a 'mummy makeover'. After delivery or after breastfeeding, fat that remains in the abdomen after giving birth is removed to fill breasts that have drooped after pregnancy. There are patients who request this technique right after giving birth, which I advise against and recommend waiting at least six months.


If the patient has small breasts or wants to increase them, breast implants is the best option.



Is breast enlargement compatible with breast elevation?

A breast lift can be performed in the same operation, but they are different procedures. If there is a sagging chest, a mastopexy should be performed, where the breasts are reshaped, tensioned and raised. If the patient has small breasts, implants can enlarge them. However, if the woman is happy with the size of her breasts and only wants to correct sagging, the breasts can be lifted without using breast implants.



When isn't it appropriate to have a breast operation?

In general, surgery is appropriate if the person is physically and mentally healthy. Therefore, the important thing is to perform preoperative tests before any breast procedure. If there is any illness or contraindication, cosmetic surgery should wait.



Are there any scars after breast enlargement surgery?

Strategic incisions are made to minimise scarring. Nowadays, implants can be implanted in three areas:

  • in the armpit; 
  • around the areola or;
  • below the chest.

After the operation, the patient is advised to use patches, creams and bras in the postoperative period to minimise scarring.


The type of operation is decided in consultation with the patient. For example, if the areola is small it is not recommended to place the prosthesis in that area, but we recommend placement in the submammary sulcus. In this way, surgery is faster and less traumatic and, therefore, postoperatively, it's much more comfortable. Through the armpit or the areola, breast operations are more traumatic but the scars less visible. The patient is informed of the pros and cons of each option and the decision is made together with a specialist.



After the surgery, what care should the patient take?

The patient stays in the clinic for the first 24 hours after breast surgery, then, if everything is normal, they can go home for a few days of rest and quiet, avoiding any lifting.


Patients can return to their normal routine and work after a week. However, for a month to six weeks; they cannot overload their arms or exert the chest area, including not going to the gym. Also, for the first two weeks they have to wear a special bra including for sleeping, and care for the scar with silicone patches, special creams for healing and take rosehip. 



How long do breast implants last?

The life of breast implants has increased over the years. Nowadays, implants, with some exceptions, are for life. Breast implants are currently made with seven layers, the material does not deteriorate and as they are made with a cohesive gel, there is no material leakage. Patients should be monitored during routine annual gynaecological examinations unless they have discomfort or changes in which case they should seek medical advice. A mammogram can detect what condition the breast implant is in.



What's the final result?

The most important thing when it comes to having cosmetic surgery, whatever it may be, is the conversation between the patient and the doctor which establishes the patient’s desires, the options and the potential outcomes. If the communication between doctor and patient is good and the expectations of both are realistic, the result is usually good. 


Now, there are computer programs that allow us to simulate the result, and there are several breast implants of different sizes in the consultation room so that patients can see them and try them to make them feel comfortable with the size and shape they have chosen.




If you're considering breast enlargement, either via implants or lipofilling, arrange a consultation with a Top Doctors breast augmentation expert here


By Topdoctors
Plastic surgery

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