Before coming to see the plastic surgeon, some women consider alternatives to surgery. Many women are understandably nervous about having surgery. It is amazing to see advertisements for creams that are supposed to enlarge the breasts, even in the 21st century. Such creams have no scientific basis for effectiveness. A "BRAVA®" bra was promoted about a decade ago as a means to enlarge the breasts about a cup size. Women would have to wear this cumbersome device for ten hours a day for ten weeks. The concept was that sustained negative pressure to the breasts would enlarge them. It never caught on because of the impracticality of wearing the device and results that were unimpressive.
Fat injection is a more feasible alternative to breast implants. Fat injection has been a valuable addition to our armamentarium in facial rejuvenation and body contouring, such as buttock augmentation. It makes sense to consider using our own fat for breast enlargement. Traditionally, the plastic surgery community has frowned on fat injection for breast augmentation. However, there is little doubt that it works. The problem is that several treatments may be needed. Only limited increases in volume are possible with a single treatment. It is time consuming, and there must be sufficient donor fat tissue available, which can be scarce in thin women. It is likely to be more expensive and time consuming than a single breast augmentation procedure. It would be a more popular treatment if the results from breast augmentation using implants were not so consistently satisfactory. I have found it a useful technique to fill in small breast defects after lumpectomies or after breast reconstruction.