Fat Transfer to Breast Patient Story Interview
Trish: I’m really excited; I’m here today with Kristie. Kristie has just recently had fat transfer to the breasts with Dr Gavin Sandercoe, plastic surgeon in Bella Vista in New South Wales, Sydney. I’m really excited because we always get asked about fat transfer to the breast, so now we’re actually speaking to someone who’s had it done.
Kristie: Thank you very much.
Trish: Excellent. We’re so excited to hear about this. We’ve had so many questions that people want to know.
Kristie: I bet.
Trish: Yeah. Before we start, do you want to just tell us a bit about it? What happened? Then I can ask you questions.
Kristie: Okay. Basically, I’ve always wanted to improve on my breasts since having two children. They’d become slightly deflated. They were still a good shape, but were just slightly deflated, missing a bit of the upper pole. Implants were something that I was always interested in.
Then when Dr Sandercoe became able to do the procedure, he offered to do the procedure on myself. I thought it sounded like a fantastic alternative to having implants. I had the procedure in July, 2016. I started off with …. I was wearing a 12B bra but just not always filling them out completely. Following the procedure my breasts are now filling out a 12C completely, so I’ve gone up a cup size.
It’s a procedure where you can have secondary procedures to increase the volume even more if you wish. I’m happy with what I’ve got, I just wanted a small increase to fill out a bra more. I didn’t want to go anything extreme, so I’m happy to stay just having one procedure.
Trish: Great, so you went from a 12B to a 12C pretty much?
Trish: Has it given you that bit of upper pole that you wanted?
Kristie: Yes, definitely.
Kristie: Definitely, it’s given me the upper pole and the breasts just look and feel more full but they feel completely natural. They feel exactly as breast tissue normally feels. They’re not lumpy. They obviously don’t feel like implants. They look and feel and move exactly the same as any other pair of natural breasts.
Trish: Great, so tell me … Do you know how much he managed to put in? I know that they say that whatever you get there’s only a certain amount … Say, if you take half a litre of fat there’s only a certain amount that will actually work?
Trish: Do you know how much he used?
Kristie: Basically what happens is fat cells don’t like to be in a tight and confined space. Only a certain amount of fat can be transferred in one procedure, because if we overcrowd the area with too many fat cells you’ll get a high percentage of them dying off. The concept is that you put a bit in there and then if you want more volume you come back and put a bit more in later on.
Trish: That’s pretty good, because that’s like 80% or 70-80%?
Kristie: Yeah, it’s great.
Trish: Where did he take the fat from you, Kristie?
Kristie: He took it from my stomach and from my flanks.
Trish: Okay, so are you a chubby girl or are you thin?
Kristie: Look, I’m a petite girl but there was definitely fat in the area. I’m loving the results. I’ve got an extremely flat stomach and no love handles. I had overhang in my jeans.
Trish: Yeah, okay so that’s kind of gone and you’ve got a little bit extra on the boobs?
Kristie: Yes, exactly. I think as well part of the bonus with it … Obviously it’s a win-win situation because you’re getting bigger breasts and you’re reducing the fat in your abdomen area. I think because of the decrease in the abdomen it’s made my breasts look bigger than they would have before with the same amount of volume. Does that make sense?
Trish: Yes. Yeah, because the rest of you is a bit smaller? Is that what you mean?
Kristie: Yes, exactly.
Trish: Tell me, how long … Did you have any prep before you had the procedure? Was there anything you were supposed to do?
Kristie: Yes. What I prepped with was an apparatus called the Brava, which is basically two plastic domes with silicone around the outside of them to form a seal over each breast. They’re connected with a plastic tube which is connected to a little motor that increases the pressure inside those plastic domes. For four weeks leading up to the surgery, I would wear that for 12 hours a day. What that was doing was increasing the amount of space available inside my breasts so that the fat cells would go into an area where they had lots of space and weren’t going to be overcrowded so we had a higher survival rate. What it’s also doing is it’s also stimulating the area to bring extra blood supply and therefore extra nutrients. It’s kind of like fertilising the soil before you plant the seeds.
That was my preparation. It’s not necessary to prepare with that. I do believe that the brava is no longer available in Australia. It’s not necessary, it is optional but it’s also now more difficult to get your hands on one.
Trish: Got it. I think there’s probably … It’s the same that women use for breast cancer when they have-
Kristie: Breast reconstruction?
Trish: Yeah, yeah. Is that right?
Kristie: I don’t know of it being used with a breast reconstruction but it’s not to say that it doesn’t get used.
Trish: Okay. Basically the brava kind of stretches the skin a bit to allow for the extra fat to go in so you’ve got space for it, rather for it to become all lump and bumpy, I guess?
Kristie: Yeah, it’s more about making the space so that the fat cells aren’t overcrowded because we want them to have lots of room so that they all survive, or so a higher percentage survives.
Trish: Do you know how long the procedure was? How long the op was for you?
Kristie: Do you know what? I’m actually not entirely sure how long in total the procedure was, but I think that we had booked the theatre for two hours of liposuction time. I was probably in there for a few hours.
Trish: Two to three hours, perhaps for what you had done?
Kristie: Yeah. I can come back to you and confirm on the exact amount of time that I was in theatre for. Gavin actually did liposuction for a lot longer than what he planned. The original plan for my surgery was just to do liposuction on the front of my abdomen and leave the fat on my flanks for a second procedure. When he got in there in theatre, I had less fat than what we had anticipated so he had to do liposuction on the whole area.
Trish: Okay. If you wanted to you could go in again and have a top up if you felt like you needed it? Which you’re obviously saying you don’t-
Kristie: Yeah, if I wanted to I could definitely go for my thighs next time. There’s enough fat there as well to go up another cup size. At the moment I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got. We’ll see how we go.
Trish: That’s great. Recovery; how long were you in hospital for?
Kristie: I went home the same day.
Trish: Oh, wow. You had surgery in the morning, went home that night?
Trish: Perfect. Your recovery, did you have time off work?
Kristie: Yes. I had two weeks off work. The recovery from the liposuction is quite full on, but it is with any surgery. I was in bed for probably about six days I’d say? Propped up with pillows, sitting up watching movies and all that kind of thing, needing someone to help me get out of bed to go to the bathroom and to help me back in bed.
Then towards the end of that week I was sort of walking around a little bit more. Most of that first week was spent in bed. Then the second week I was out of bed but still really slow. Not ready to come back to work, not standing fully upright. To get into work clothes and be sitting at a desk all day just would have been exhausting so two weeks off work.
Trish: Okay, so two weeks off work. After the two weeks … Did you have compression garments to wear?
Kristie: Yep. Six weeks of compression garments. I had nothing on my breasts, so again because we don’t want to crowd the fat cells because we want them to survive, I wasn’t wearing what you’d normally wear after a breast augmentation so I wasn’t wearing a support bra with a stabiliser or anything like that. I just had a really loose crop top on, kind of like one of those seamless bras.
Trish: Okay. Was there any special diet that you had to go on? One of the doctors in Melbourne who does it he talks about going on a high carb diet. Was there anything like that?
Kristie: Our belief is, we do CoolSculpting, so we know a lot about how fat cells function based on that. What Gavin believes with the fat cells is that there is no point in fattening you up, because your fat cells are going to after the surgery return to the size that they were pre-surgery, because you’re going to have your weight that you naturally sit it. Until you are very overweight, fat cells only expand & shrink. Once you get past a certain weight, the body will make some more fat cells to store your chocolate. When we eat a lot and gain weight, the fat cells are increasing in size. Then we we go back to our regular healthy diet the fat cells are going to shrink back to their normal size.
If I was to have a high fat or high carb diet prior to surgery and fatten up all my fat cells, he’d put them in my breasts and then I’d go back to my day-to-day life and those fat cells would shrink. It’s not actually increasing the volume in any way.
Trish: Mm-hmm, ok.
Kristie: My pre-operative diet and exercise routine was just exactly as it normally is.
Trish: Okay, so you wouldn’t want to go on a diet but you don’t have to necessarily eat more than you normally do?
Kristie: No. I know that there are doctors that sort of do believe in fat camps before fat transfers, but I don’t know that it actually has an effect, because those fat cells are going to shrink back down following the surgery.
Trish: I kind of like the idea of fat camp, just the fact that you can eat what you want, “I have to the doctor told me to.”
Kristie: Exactly, it would be lovely. “It’s all for my breasts!”
Trish: Exactly, it’s all for the boobs.
With your recovery, you were back at work after two weeks? Did you notice … Is it an instant gratification?
Kristie: Oh, absolutely. As soon as you wake up from surgery, I looked down my gown and could see exactly what I had. A little bit of swelling, so there was a drop in size after a few weeks. I think when I went and bought my first bra I think I was four weeks post-op and I was a 12D, so there was still swelling.
Trish: Okay, so you settled from the D just down to a nice full C?
Kristie: Full C, yes.
Trish: Okay, awesome. Because they say that if you want any more than one cup you’re looking at the wrong surgery but one cup it’s perfect for one and then maybe you can have it redone if you want a bit more anyway.
Kristie: Yeah. If you’ve got enough fat in multiple areas you can certainly have more than one procedure. Most of the time, depending on someone’s goals, most of the time it would be recommended to do two procedures.
Trish: Yeah, great.
Just on the lipo side of it, how did you fare with cellulite? Because I keep getting these comments about people saying you have lipo and you’re going to get cellulite. I’m like, “oh really?” What’s that about? Have you noticed that on the areas that you got lipo you have a bit of cellulite?
Kristie: Definitely not. I mean, cellulite is all about the little fibres that connect your skin to your body. That’s all cellulite is. The kind of like buttons on a cushion, if you will, on a lounge. If you’re carrying lots of weight and there’s lots of fat cells or you’ve got more padding in the cushion, those little fibres are pulling down tighter causing a divot, like a little button on a cushion.
When the fat’s been reduced by liposuction, that thereby should make those little divots look smaller.
Trish: Okay, well that makes sense-
Kristie: I certainly haven’t noticed any negative changes in the area where I had liposuction. The scarring is minimal. I’ve got four incision points of where the liposuction was done. Two on my front just below my underwear line, and then two on my flanks or my hips like one on each side. Then there was one spot in my belly button but you can’t see the scar because it’s on the edge of my belly button.
Trish: Okay, what about on your boobs? Is there any-
Kristie: Four incision points, but the needle that they used to inject the fat in is really small. I was trying to show someone my scars the other day and we really … We couldn’t find them. They’re tiny.
Kristie: If somebody saw your breasts with no clothes on, it doesn’t look like you’ve had any surgery.
Trish: They wouldn’t know.
Kristie: Nobody would know.
Trish: Right. You are now nine months nearly, eight months post-op?
Trish: They haven’t shrunk or anything like that? You’re still the same?
Kristie: No, they look great. They feel great. The size and shape has stayed.
Kristie: I’m extremely happy with the procedure.
Trish: That’s great.
Kristie: It gave me exactly what I was looking for. Because I wanted an increase in the volume, I wanted to give back that upper pole that I’d lost from having two kids. I always hesitated about implants because of what happens in 15, 20 years time and they need to be changed? What about capsular contracture? Is it going to feel weird when I lie on my stomach and when I hug people?
Trish: Yeah, all those questions, I’m the same as you.
Kristie: Yeah. Having a solution that avoided all of those things was ideal.
Trish: Fantastic. That sounds wonderful, Kristie.
Are you going to be happy to share some pics with us?
Trish: Great, that would be great. That’s what everybody wants to see.
Kristie: I happened to take a picture before in a bra that I didn’t fit into, and then afterwards I can’t wear it because I’m spilling out of it. It actually gives a really good visual of the effect, rather than with no clothes on. But I’ll send them all to you.
Trish: That would be wonderful. Thank you so much for your time today, Kristie.
Kristie: Not a problem.
Trish: I hope I’ve asked all the questions that everybody wanted me to ask. If not, I’ll call you again.
Kristie: Absolutely not a problem, you can call and ask any questions.
Trish: Awesome. For you listeners out there if you’re looking at, or thinking about having, fat transfer to the breasts as a procedure to enhance your breast cup by one size, definitely don’t overlook Dr Gavin Sandercoe who operates … He’s a plastic and cosmetic surgeon who operates at Bella Vista in New South Wales. You can drop us an email to [email protected].
Thanks, Kristie. Thank you so much for your time.
Kristie: No worries, thanks so much, Trish.
Trish: Okay, bye.