Autologous fat grafting to the breast for cosmetic enhancement: experience in 66 patients with long-term follow up

Dan Ning Zheng, Qing Feng Li, Hua Lei, Sheng Wu Zheng, Yu Zhi Xie, Qiu Hua Xu, Xie Yun, Lee Li-Qun Pu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Scopus citations


Background: Autologous fat grafting to the breast for cosmetic enhancement remains controversial because the efficacy and fate of fat grafting to the breast are primarily unknown. In this report, we present our retrospective study in 66 patients who underwent autologous fat grafting to the breast for various cosmetic reasons and who were followed with sonography, mammography, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Methods: Sixty-six patients who desired cosmetic enhancement of the breast for various reasons underwent autologous fat transplantation between August 2000 and March 2005 in our institution. The cosmetic outcome was assessed by the plastic surgeons as well as the patients. The imaging features of fat necrosis, cyst formation, and calcification in these patients were carefully studied and biopsies of palpable lumps were evaluated histologically. Results: All patients were followed from 13 to 61 months with an average of 37 months. Breast cosmetic contour was significantly improved in 28 patients (42.4%), improved in 24 patients (36.4%), and not improved in 14 patients (21.2%) as judged by the plastic surgeons. Twenty-seven patients (40.9%) were very satisfied, 26 patients (39.4%) were satisfied, and 13 patients (19.7%) were unsatisfied. Eleven patients (16.7%) developed liponecrotic cysts but only two patients elected to have the breast lump surgically removed. Conclusion: Autologous fat grafting to the breast can be a useful procedure for cosmetic enhancement in many patients who desire such a procedure. Patients with breast contour deformities after removal of silicon implants were found to be the best candidates for fat grafting. The primary long-term complication is the formation of liponecrotic cysts which have characteristically benign appearances in sonography, mammography or MRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)792-798
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008



  • Autologous fat transplantation
  • Breast
  • Breast augmentation
  • Fat grafting
  • Liponecrotic cyst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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