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Autologous Implants - Beautopedia

Autologous Implants

This guide provides information about autologous implants, how they differ to artificial implants, their benefits, pricing information and risks.

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What are Autologous Implants?

Autologous implants are essentially a transfer of fat from one part of the body to enhance another. The surgeon uses a fat rich area such as the stomach or thighs to suction spare fat and use this tissue for filling out defective or aging areas. Autologous implants can either be injected or surgically inserted into the body after being cleaned and drained of fluid. There are many benefits to cosmetic enhancement using this technique.

What are Autologous Implants Used For?

Transplanting fat can be beneficial for various cosmetic problems such as filling out the depressions or lines around the mouth, eyes and cheeks including the nasolabial folds. It can also be used for bulking up areas which have experienced fat loss due to aging, scars such as acne scarring on the face or shoulders and other body areas which have post traumatic defects.

Cosmetic surgeons have also started to use autologous implants for breast augmentation, which adds another option for augmenting the breasts instead of using saline or silicone breast implants.

Are Autologous Implants Permanent?

Using the body’s own fat for plumping out areas is usually a permanent measure of cosmetic improvement. However, over time the body does reabsorb some of the fat which has been injected or inserted. Usually the amount reabsorbed is minimal, but where the body reabsorbs a significant volume of the fat, the procedure may need to be repeated. In most cases, autologous implants do offer a permanent solution without the need for recurring surgery. If you have concerns about the lasting effects of your fat transfer, discuss this with your cosmetic or plastic surgeon before undergoing the procedure.

Are Autologous Implants Better for Breast Augmentation?

Since this procedure utilizes the body’s own fat, many women find this as a preferable alternative to using foreign substances such as silicone or saline gel implants. However, since autologous means of enhancing the breasts is relatively new, not many plastic surgeons are experienced in enlarging the breasts using this method. It is more technically difficult to shape and structure the breasts using the body’s own tissues rather than inserting an already shaped breast implant which has been contoured specifically for the purpose of enhancing breast size.

Since the autologous implants need to be sourced from the patient, the patient needs to have sufficient excess skin and fat for this purpose. Accordingly, the procedure won’t be suitable for patients who are very thin with little surplus tissue. As a downfall, excising tissue requires a surgical incision at the donor area resulting in scarring in two areas. However, unlike silicone breast implants, there is no risk of autologous implants rupturing and leaking foreign material into the body.

Autologous implants have been used by plastic surgeons to reconstruct the breasts after mastectomy (removal following breast cancer). Many surgeons also use autologous implants for restructuring asymmetrical breasts, which may be a better option for women who need a reshaping as opposed to an enlargement. As for which method is better for you, you should discuss this with your plastic surgeon, as each doctor will have their own preferred technique and can also advise you better of your options based on your particular circumstances.

What are the Risks of Autologous Implants?

Autologous fat (sourced from the person’s own body) poses no risk rejection and no chance of an allergic reaction, since it’s the body’s own tissue. When injecting other material into the body such as bovine collagen there is a risk of the body rejecting the substance. With breast augmentation, there is a risk of allergic reaction and capsular contraction with silicone and saline breast implants.

However, there are other risks involved with autologous implants such as infection, which is a standard risk of any surgical procedure. Also, the fat is more difficult to shape inside the body and accordingly, there is a higher risk of asymmetry and lumping. Another possible complication with autologous implants is that the transplanted cells may not survive in the patient’s body, requiring further surgery.

How much does Autologous Implants Cost? Price Information

Price Range: $$ affordable $$$ moderate $$$$ high-priced

Price Indicator: $$$ to $$$$

Cheapest Cost of Autologous Implants: $1,000 to $1,500 for autologous facial implants such as to the cheeks, nose-to-mouth lines and other lines and wrinkles

Cost of Autologous Breast Implants: $10,000 to $15,000

Average Cost of Autologous Breast Implants: $12,500

These Prices are Per Treatment and Usually Include:  doctor/surgeon fees, hospital/facility fees, injections, post-surgical garments

Additional costs of Autologous Implants may include:

- revision surgery, if required

Medicare/Medicaid: not applicable for cosmetic purposes

Private Health Insurance: may be covered if medically necessary, for example for breast reconstruction

Financing: may be offered by some companies

Factors affecting the Cost of Autologous Implants:

-          Which areas are being augmented or filled out

-          The amount of fat required

-          transplantation methods

When asking for a quote, ask the clinic for the total cost including all fees and whether any rebates, specials or discounts apply.

How to Find the Best Autologous Implants Doctor/Surgeon

Autologous facial implants are a cosmetic treatment which should be administered by a qualified doctor or cosmetic surgeon specializing in injectables and facial contouring. Some cosmetic surgeons allow their nursing staff to carry out the injections. If you can, try to have an MD administer the treatment. When searching for an autologous implant specialist, make sure you research their qualifications, credentials, training and experience. Being board certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery does not indicate that a doctor is trained and experienced in this treatment.

Autologous breast implants is a plastic surgery procedure which requires specialty training and experience. Although any doctor can be a cosmetic surgeon and claim to practice in plastic surgery, invasive surgeries should only be done by a plastic surgeon that is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. To ensure the surgeon is also experienced in cosmetic surgery, find out if they are a member of the ASAPS (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery). If the surgeon does not have hospital privileges for the procedure, make sure that the surgeon’s facility is accredited, state licensed or certified by Medicare.

Be sure to ask your doctor which procedures they specialize in, where they trained and how many treatments they’ve performed. Obtain lots of before and after photos of patients they’ve treated for the same area using your chosen technique.

Even if a doctor has the right credentials, this does not mean they will be good at performing Autologous Implants. Apart from researching their formal qualifications and training, try to find customer reviews to see the overall satisfaction rate of your potential doctor. Independent recommendations are invaluable for assessing the best doctor or surgeon who is most experienced in the treatment. Don’t be tempted to opt for the cheapest cost without considering the above factors. A cheap center may not offer the experience you desire. Also, you may wish to consider whether you feel more comfortable with a female or male physician.

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