Complications of Fat Transfer for Breast Augmentation

Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2017 Oct;41(5):1078-1082. doi: 10.1007/s00266-017-0911-2. Epub 2017 Jun 22.


Autologous fat grafting is quite common for breast augmentations as well as for reconstructive breast surgery. Coleman has described the surgical technique of fat grafting. Fat is harvested, and after centrifugation and refinement, blunt infiltration cannulas are used to place the fat through small incisions. The grafted tissue is placed in small aliquots with each withdrawal of the cannula. In order to achieve an aesthetically pleasing contour of the breast, the fat should be layered into different levels from the chest wall to the skin. However, autogenous lipotransfer if not performed lege artis might lead to complications such as fat necrosis, calcification, formation of encapsulated fatty masses (cystic lesions), lymphadenopathy, disfigurement of breast contouring, hypersensitive breasts, itchy nipples. A 36-year old female patient, presented with multiple palpable cystic lesions, disrupted breast contouring, asymmetry, hypersensation and pain during examination, 6 months after autologous fat grafting for breast augmentation elsewhere. The patient had ultrasound and MRI screening, which revealed the multiple bilateral cysts formation in the breast tissue. Surgical removal of the large lesions was performed, and specimens were sent for pathology and cytology consideration and screening. A few months after surgical removal of these lesions and after symptoms subsided, breast augmentation was performed with silicone implants. An aesthetically pleasing result together with relief of the patient's initial symptomatology was achieved. Level of Evidence V This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these evidence-based medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors .

Keywords: Autologous fat grafting; Breast augmentation; Complications of fat transfer/grafting; Cystic lesions; Fat necrosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / transplantation*
  • Adult
  • Autografts
  • Breast Cyst / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Cyst / etiology
  • Breast Cyst / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Mammaplasty / adverse effects*
  • Mammaplasty / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Reoperation / methods
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / methods