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Fat Grafting to the Breast with Pre-Expansion

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An interesting new purpose for a strange and somewhat controversial breast enhancement device may be on the horizon. A recent study described in a June, 2011 article on the Science Dailywebsite explained that pre-expansion using a bra-like suction device may be key to plastic surgeons’ ability to deliver bigger breasts through fat transfer than has previously been possible.

These devices have been marketed for years, appealing to women who want bigger breasts without having to undergo surgery. A leading U.S. product is called the BRAVA Breast Enhancement and Shaping System, available for around $2,500. At the other end of the cost spectrum is a device called the Noogleberry System from a U.K. company, costing about $70.

Do these devices work? The answer is, well, sort of. Physician reviews on RealSelf.com indicated that the BRAVA system’s vacuum expansion does work in a limited way and for a limited time. Two plastic surgeons weighing in on BRAVA mentioned that the best results they have seen are when the device is worn prior to fat transfer. One plastic surgeon described the system as creating space for the fat injections (RealSelf 1).

That’s just what Drs. Daniel Alexander Del Vecchio and Louis Paul Bucky found in their study, published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Science Daily reported. The two researchers injected fat into 46 breasts of 25 women after the patients used the expansion devices for several weeks. After six months, the plastic surgeons found that the women’s breasts showed both size and shape improvements, a natural feel and no evidence of cysts or other masses (Science Daily 1).

This study, as limited as it is, does uphold the notion that fat transfer may emerge as the wave of the future for breast augmentation, particularly as additional technology is found to support the approach. Pronouncing the results for their patients as “excellent outcomes,” the two plastic surgeons noted that they were able to transfer as much as 300cc’s of fat within about two hours (Science Daily 1).

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