Fat Injection After Breast Reconstruction

This information explains fat injections after your breast reconstruction surgery and what to expect after the procedure.

Fat injection is a procedure that is used to improve the appearance of the breast after reconstructive surgery. The injection can soften creases and indented scars in the breasts and add volume to shallow curves. The areas of the breast that need fat injection are usually the cleavage area, the upper part of the breast, and the side of the breast.

About Your Procedure

Your procedure may be done in your doctor’s office with local anesthesia (medication that numbs an area of your body) or in the operating room under general anesthesia (medication that makes you sleep during your procedure).

Your doctor will take fat from your abdomen (belly), buttocks, or thighs (donor site) and inject it into an area of your breast (recipient site). This will take 1 to 2 hours.

During your consent visit, you and your doctor will determine where the best donor site is for you. You may need several fat injections, which may be taken from more than 1 donor site.

If you are having fat taken from your thighs or abdomen, your doctor may ask you to bring in a compression garment, such as Spanx® to wear home after your procedure.

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After Your Procedure

What to expect

  • You will have 1 to 2 dissolvable sutures (stitches) and a gauze dressing on your donor sites.
  • You may have strips of paper tape over your incisions (surgical cuts) on the recipient sites of your breast.
  • You may wake up from your procedure with a compression garment on, such as an abdominal binder or Spanx. This is to help with the swelling. The garment will be put on you in your doctor’s office or the operating room after your procedure.
  • You will have scabbing at both the recipient and donor sites.
  • You may have swelling, bruising, and soreness for 7 to 14 days after your procedure.
  • You may be given a prescription for antibiotics after your procedure.

Caring for yourself at home

  • Wear the compression garment, such as the abdominal binder or Spanx for 1 to 2 weeks after your procedure.
  • Do not shower or wet the dressing on your incision sites for the first 48 hours after your procedure. The incisions may leak, so keep the gauze dressings on and change them if they get wet or soiled.
  • After 48 hours, you can remove the gauze dressings on your donor site(s). Do not remove any sutures or strips of paper tape that you see on your breasts, abdomen, buttocks, or thighs. Your doctor will examine them at your follow-up appointment.
  • Avoid vigorous activity for 2 weeks after your procedure. After this time, you can go back to your usual activities, as instructed by your doctor.
  • Take the pain medication your doctor prescribed, if you need it.
  • Call your doctor’s office to schedule a follow-up appointment for 1 to 2 weeks after your procedure.
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Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You Have:

  • Redness, warmth, or increased pain over your incisions
  • Any changes in your incision sites, such as drainage, oozing, or separation
  • A temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher
  • Shaking chills
  • Sudden shortness of breath or any difficulty breathing
  • Signs and symptoms of infection in another part of your body, such as new swelling, redness or drainage
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