What is a Breast Auto-augmentation? When can it be used?
One might think that the prefix “auto” has some relationship to automobiles of some sort. That is obviously not the case with an auto–augmentation of the breast. The prefix “auto” is derived from autologous, which means using tissue from one’s self as a graft or transfer of any tissue from and to the same person, as in a skin or bone graft.
A breast auto–augmentation is using a part of a person’s own breast for a breast augmentation. This procedure is used when a person has sagging of the breasts and also has enough tissue to augment their own breasts. It is not for a person with small breasts or someone who wants to be larger. Typically when an uplift (mastopexy) is needed, there are two problems: sagging of the breasts; and a deficiency of the breast tissue in the upper part of the breast causing a flatness in that area. Most often a breast implant is used with a mastopexy to enhance this upper pole deficiency. Often, however, a patient has sufficient breast tissue and does not need an implant or does not want to be larger. Also, many patients do not want breast implants particularly when there is an option of using their own tissue.
Another option instead of using silicone or saline implants to increase the fullness in the upper part of the breasts with a breast uplift is using fat grafts (also called fat transfer). This is when fat is liposuctioned from another area of the body and injected into the breasts. This is an excellent procedure, but if an breast auto-augmentation is a viable option, it has the advantage of more permanency. Fat grafts do not always “take,” meaning that some of the grafts do not survive and there is volume loss. The breast auto-augmentation always survives, providing there are no complications. Typically, in smokers neither the auto-augmentation or grafts will survive. The breast cannot be made larger with the auto-augmentation, but can be increased by about a cup size with fat grafts.
The advantages of the auto-augmentation are the patient gets a breast uplift, and the superior aspect of the breast becomes augmented with their own tissue instead of a silicone or saline breast implant. It is a specialized procedure which is an ideal option for carefully selected patients.
E. Ronald Finger, MD, FACS