Lipofilling or fat grafting is a procedure which uses your own body fat to enhance and replace the loss or lack of volume in certain areas of the body (such as the breasts). Lipofilling can be done on its own, or in conjunction with other surgical procedures such as a breast lift or breast augmentation.

Breast Fat Grafting

Breast enlargement is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the world. For many women, the way they feel about their bodies and their femininity is directly linked to the size and shape of their breasts, and their personal body image can be dramatically altered following breast enhancement surgery. If you are requiring an extremely natural augmented result then structural fat grafting should be considered.

In South Africa, breast augmentation and enlargement procedures are just as popular as anywhere in the world and they are certainly the most common surgeries at our practice. Here, most patients are looking for a very natural breast enhancement. It is not really about the size, but more importantly about improving the shape of the breasts.

Lipofilling or fat grafting is a procedure that uses your own body fat to enhance and replace the loss or lack of volume in certain areas of the body. Lipofilling can improve features such as breasts. Lipofilling can be done on its own, or in conjunction with other surgical procedures such as a breast lift or breast augmentation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Breast Fat Grafting?

Lipofilling or fat grafting is a procedure that uses your own body fat to enhance and replace the loss or lack of volume in certain areas of the body. Lipofilling can improve features such as breasts. Lipofilling can be done on its own, or in conjunction with other surgical procedures such as a breast lift or breast augmentation.

Who Is A Good Candidate For Breast Fat Grafting?

The best candidates are those who fully understand the procedure and have realistic expectations about the results. Lipofilling can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won’t necessarily change your looks to match your ideal or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have this procedure, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon. The best candidates are patients who are physically healthy, psychologically stable, and realistic in their expectations. Your age is not a major consideration; however, older patients may have diminished skin elasticity and may not achieve the same results as younger patients with tighter skin. This procedure carries greater risk for individuals with medical problems such as diabetes, significant heart or lung disease, poor blood circulation, or those who have recently had surgery near the area to be contoured.

What Are The Risks Of Breast Fat Grafting?

Lipofilling is normally safe when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon and if patients are carefully selected, the operating facility is properly equipped, and the physician is adequately trained. Nevertheless, as with any surgery, there is always a possibility of complications:

  • Bleeding, infection, or reaction to the anaesthesia. It’s important to keep in mind that even though a well-trained surgeon and a state-of-the-art facility can improve your chance of having a good result, there are no guarantees, although they are rare, complications can and do occur. You can reduce your risks by closely following Dr. Wilkinson’s advice both before and after surgery.
  • The complications that occasionally follow Lipofilling include persistent discolouration (bruising), swelling, and asymmetry in healing.
  • Occasional numbness of the skin can occur but usually resolves within a few weeks but in some cases, may be permanent.

Although they are rare, the following complications can  occur:

  • Tissue Loss: In rare cases, the transferred fat may cause the skin over the treated area to be injured resulting in loss of the skin and surrounding tissue. This may leave scars and disfigurement and require surgery for treatment.
  • Serious Complications: Although serious complications have been reported to be associated with fat transfer procedures, these are very rare. Such conditions include but are not limited to: Fat embolism (a piece of fat may find its way into the bloodstream and result in a serious or life-threatening condition), stroke, meningitis (inflammation of the brain), serious infection, blindness or loss of vision, or death.
  • Blood Clots: Blood clots in the veins of the arms, legs, or pelvis may result from the fat transfer if it is done as a surgical procedure. These clots may cause problems with the veins or may break off and flow to the lungs or where they may cause serious breathing problems.
  • Pulmonary Complications: Pulmonary (lung and breathing) complications may occur from both blood clots (pulmonary emboli) and partial collapse of the lungs after general anaesthesia. Should either of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment. Pulmonary emboli can be life-threatening or fatal in some circumstances. Fat embolism syndrome occurs when fat droplets are trapped in the lungs or heart. This is a very rare and possibly fatal complication of fat transfer procedures.

How Is Breast Fat Grafting Surgery Performed?

Lipofilling usually takes two to three hours, depending on the extent of the procedure. Fat will be harvested from an area of the body with the fattiest deposits – the abdomen, flanks, inner thighs, or knees. A blunt specially designed harvesting cannula is used to harvest the fat which is then processed in a centrifuge to remove any excess fluid.

The fat is then carefully and precisely injected into the areas of the body that need it. We know that all the fat injected will not survive the process and therefore Dr. Wilkinson over corrects any deficiencies to compensate for the fat which will be re-absorbed by the body. This can cause excessive swelling in the first 7 to 10 days and then settles quickly. Although most patients only need one procedure sometimes a 2nd or even 3rd session may be required at a later stage.

When Will I See My Final Breast Fat Grafting Results?

Healing is a gradual process, and it may take time for you to appreciate the subtle changes in your appearance after Lipofilling. Although much of the swelling and bruising will disappear in the first few weeks, it may be six months to a year before you settle into your new shape. You will see a noticeable difference in the shape of your breasts quite soon after surgery. However, improvement will become even more apparent after about four to six weeks, when most of the swelling has subsided.

After about three months, any persistent mild swelling usually disappears, and the final contour will be visible. You may find that you are more comfortable in a wide variety of clothes and more at ease with yourself. And, by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, you can help to maintain your new shape. Dr. Wilkinson will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible.

Your satisfaction with Lipofilling is likely to be greater if you understand the procedure thoroughly and if your expectations are realistic. The important thing is how you feel about it. If you’ve met your goals, then your surgery is a success.

What Is The Recovery Period For Breast Fat Grafting?

  • You should be able to return to work within 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the level of activity required for your job.
  • No driving for 1 week.
  • Normal activities can be resumed after 3 weeks.
  • Exercising may be resumed between 3 and 6 weeks.
  • Your skin will probably be sensitive to direct stimulation for two to three weeks, so you should avoid much physical contact.
  • You may also experience random, shooting pains for a few months.
  • You can expect some loss of sensation in certain areas particularly the back and flank area caused by the swelling after surgery. This usually fades over the next six weeks or so.
  • In some patients, however, it may last a year or more, and occasionally it may be permanent.

How Do I Choose The Best Breast Enhancement Procedure For Me?

To see if breast implants is the best cosmetic surgery procedure for you, always start with a professional consultation with qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeon for an in-depth analysis of your body features and to reach a good understanding of your concerns and goals.

Dr Nerina Wilkinson’s unique and comprehensive surgical consultation is available for you to discuss and analyse your concerns and goals and for her (together with her team of specialists) to provide bespoke advice.

Schedule your cosmetic surgery consultation today! 



It’s important for you to be honest with Dr. Nerina Wilkinson during your first consultation as far as your medical history, chronic medications, and expectations of the procedure are concerned.

She will do a physical examination, take measurements, and if necessary photographs to assess your breasts for surgery. She will take into account the size and shape of your breasts, skin quality, and the placement of the nipple and areola. In addition, she will need to be told of any plans (if applicable) to lose a significant amount of weight in the future. Many women find their breasts sag or shrink with weight loss. In this instance, she may recommend that you schedule surgery for once your target weight has been achieved.

Depending on your breasts and skin tone, Dr. Nerina Wilkinson may also recommend a breast lift in conjunction with an augmentation. Be sure to discuss your expectations frankly so that both of you are on exactly the same page.

Once a shape and size have been decided, you’ll book your surgery date.

The procedure will be performed at the Surgical Clinic. Depending on your procedure, you’ll either be admitted as a day patient an inpatient, in which case you’ll be monitored at the Renaissance facilities.

The surgery lasts approximately 2 hours and is performed while you’re under conscious sedation. which will make you feel drowsy and relaxed, however, you’ll sleep through the entire operation and not be aware of the procedure. Occasionally, Dr. Nerina Wilkinson may use general anaesthesia, but in all cases, a certified anaesthetist will be responsible for your well-being.

You will stay overnight after the procedure, and you will be transferred to the overnight facility on the 2nd floor when you have recovered from the anaesthetic. Dr. Wilkinson will see you at the end of the day to check on your progress. You will be discharged from the 2nd floor the next day and the doctor will see you in the morning before you go. The staff will attend to all your needs including pain control, fluid intake, and taking you to the bathroom.

  • You’re likely to feel tired and sore for a few days following your surgery, but you’ll be up and about within 12 to 24 hours.
  • Most of your discomfort can be controlled by medication prescribed by your doctor.
  • You will receive a compression garment to wear straight after theatre and you should wear it 24 hours a day for 6 weeks.
  • You will have stitches to be removed 5 – 7 days after surgery, but the swelling of your body may take four to six weeks to disappear.
  • The final shape will only be determined after 3 months. If you feel any severe pain, inform the clinic staff immediately.
  • You can expect some swelling and bruising afterward, which differs from patient to patient. It depends on the extent of the procedure as well as the individual’s tendency to bruise.
  • NO smoking after surgery. Smoking may compromise wound healing.
  • You will be required to see Dr. Wilkinson post-operatively after ±3-4 days for a wound check, after three weeks, and at 6 weeks for a surgical follow-up.
  • Failure to adhere to these instructions may lead to complications and jeopardize the results of your surgery.

Allowing Dr. Nerina Wilkinson to perform your breast enhancement procedure places you in the capable hands of a surgeon and breast surgery expert who has been practising for over 2 decades.

Contact our practice today to find out how Dr Nerina Wilkinson’s breast augmentation can greatly enhance your life.



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The Cosmetic Surgery Team

She specialises in Facial & Breast Rejuvenation & Restoration

Dr Nerina Wilkinson combines her more than 2 decades of surgical precision in Cosmetic plastic surgery, in depth understanding of anatomy, detailed understanding of aesthetic concepts and the newest innovations in technology to deliver a unique breast aesthetic couture experience.

About Dr Nerina Wilkinson FCS (Plast SA)

Dr Wilkinson has pioneered highly effective, science driven techniques. By integrating the most cutting edge technologies, state of the art equipment and sound scientific research she designs game changing protocols that redefine skin care, aesthetic medicine, and plastic surgery.

“Hi Nerina, just wanted to say thank you! I could not have expected or wished for more, I have not stopped getting comments of admiration for your handy work. Really huge THANK YOU!”

K Miller, Breast Augmentation

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