Introducing the vegan boob job

17 January 2019

What is a vegan boob job ?

Many women want to get their breast shape and volume back, particularly after having children, but are put off breast implants by the thought of having a foreign material inside their body. They are often good candidates for a Vegan Boob Job, which is a surgical technique that enhances breast size and shape without the use of breast implants.

Is it the same operation for every patient?

There are three types of Vegan Boob Job, and the one you will be recommended depends on what needs to be done. In its simplest form, it involves taking fat from one part of the body and grafting it into the breasts. Fat is removed by liposuction which has been modified to keep the fat cells as healthy as possible. For patients who need it, a breast uplift is performed at the same time - this is the second type of operation. The third and final type additionally involves an 'auto-augmentation', in which part of the breast is shaped into a living breast implant. With these techniques it is possible to get results that resemble the use of breast implants without using any foreign material.

Does it last?

That is the question I hear most often. In short, yes - grafted fat is permanent. Not only that, but it never 'forgets' where it came from, so if fat is grafted from your hips to your breasts, and in future you put on weight that would have gone to your hips, instead you will see that weight gain in your breasts.

But it's important to understand that not all the fat that is put in will be retained by the body. I see about one third of the extra volume fade away over the first three months, and I always warn my patients to expect this. Also, the results settle down and become more natural over the first few months too, particularly fullness at the top of the breasts. If a patient wants to have a lot of fullness at the top of the breasts then they may need to seriously consider having breast implants.

What are the advantages?

The biggest advantage is that there is no need for breast implants, which avoids implant-specific risks, like capsular contracture, rippling, implant visibility, implant infection and the need for implant exchange later on.

The other big advantage is the lack of scarring. The simplest kind of Vegan Boob Job leaves almost no scars - a couple of three millimetre scars where the fat is reintroduced into each breast, and similar scars wherever it is taken from by liposuction. The second type leaves scars depending on the type of uplift needed (either in a circle around the nipple or in an anchor shape). The third type always makes use of an anchor scar.

What about the downtime?

I find the downtime similar to that for standard breast augmentation with implants. In my practice, this means patients generally stop needing painkillers around day three or four. I recommend that patients warn their employers that they will need a week off work, although in practice the recovery is often a bit quicker than this.

What are so many patients choosing this more discreet technique?

A lot of women choose this because they want to live a healthier and more natural life whilst also looking great, and breast implants doesn't work with their personal philosophy. Others have had breast implants and would like to have them taken out, but aren't prepared to be much flatter-chested after years of having a fuller shape. Others also tell me that if they are ever asked if they have had work done to their breasts, they can reply unashamedly that they have never had breast implants!

Are there any disadvantages of this technique?

Of course, and for some patients I would recommend a standard breast augmentation over it. The main disadvantage is that it isn't possible to graft too much fat in one go, as this increases the amount that dissolves away in the first three months. The other disadvantage is that it cannot be used to make the breasts project much more than they already do, which on the other hand can quite easily be achieved with breast implants. I use a 3D simulator to help patients visualise the difference they can expect between the different techniques. Finally, it is a technically more involved procedure than using breast implants and takes a bit longer to do.

Any other thoughts?

Yes! Please could I quickly plug a charity I would like to support, called Smalls for All? It is my chosen charity after my time in Sierra Leone. Wearing underwear in some parts of Africa is enough of a symbol of wealth, status and power to reduce the risk of a young woman being raped. If you’re having surgery you’re probably looking forward to some new underwear, please pass on your smalls!

 

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