There may be a new alternative to breast implant exchange on the horizon – a “reverse liposuction” approach that replaces breast implants with the patient’s own body fat. A report in the latest issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery describes some of the possibilities that this new procedure may provide to breast augmentation patients.
Simultaneous implant exchange with fat, or SIEF, is a “conceptual paradigm shift of using natural fat for volumetric augmentation and breast reshaping,” according to report author Dr. Daniel Del Vecchio. He used the SIEF technique to help a 42-year-old woman who had undergone breast augmentation seven years previously. The patient was dissatisfied with the appearance of her breasts – she felt that they were too full and rounded, and looked unnatural.
Like many breast augmentation patients, she was concerned about how her breasts might appear after having the implants removed. She sought the help of Dr. Del Vecchio, who designed the SIEF technique to provide and maintain the natural shape of breasts after implant removal. Here’s how the technique works:
- During the three weeks before surgery, the patient uses a bra-like device that uses negative pressure to gradually expand the breast.
- The surgeon performs liposuction to harvest fat cells from the patient’s thighs and abdomen – parts of the body that often carry excess, unwanted fat.
- The fat cells are injected into the space over the implants, so that the surgeon can sculpt and reshape the breast.
- The breast implants are removed. This reduces pressure within the breasts, so that the surgeon can inject additional fat beneath the skin.
In a follow-up with the patient one year later, Dr. Del Vecchio was pleased to discover that the breasts were about the same volume as they had been with implants. However, they had a more satisfactory cosmetic result, with a smoother transition at the top.