(CBS) Imagine being able to slim down your thighs and add a cup size all at the same time. It's the latest trend in breast augmentation.
Patients insist it looks totally natural but, a leading surgeons’ group warns it could actually be dangerous.
Linda Francipane loves looking at her new silhouette in the mirror.
“I used to wear padded bras, which was very uncomfortable,” Francipane said. “Now I don't have to do that anymore.”
Francipane is two-cup sizes bigger than she used to be, but she didn't get implants. She had fat removed from her thighs, back and abdomen and injected into her breasts.
“I was thrilled because I was using my own body to enhance my own body,” she said.
It's called fat grafting and has been done for years on faces and hands. Now, more and more doctors are using the technique to enhance chest size.
“You're creating something that's very natural feeling,” plastic surgeon Dr. Sydney Coleman said. “Your boyfriend, your husband, no one can tell that anything was done.”
Coleman specializes in the procedure and says fat has other benefits, too. He says there's no risk of hardening. Plus, not only does it add volume, but it allows surgeons to shape and sculpt.
“It does what you want it to, so it projects more, it bottoms out, it has more upper pull fullness,” Coleman said. “You can make better cleavage.”
Helen Darras is about to undergo fat grafting surgery. One of her breasts is much smaller than the other following complications from nursing her children.
“Although it's not any dangerous thing, it still presents the fact that they are uneven,” Darras said.
The surgery can last as long as six to seven hours.
As for recovery time, “I was up and out within seven days, exactly seven days to the day from my procedure,” Francipane said.
Both women’s surgeries went off without a hitch. But, overall, how safe is this procedure?
“The jury is still out,” said Dr. Walter Ernhardt, with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says more research needs to be done on the long-term effects and is warning patients that these fat injections can make breast cancer screening difficult.
“The fat cells can scar down or sometimes become cysts,” Ernhardt said. “Sometimes they will even form calcifications, and calcifications can sometimes make it difficult in examining the breast.”
But, the society admits that can be a side effect of all breast augmentations. Dr. Coleman agrees.
“Women need to take care of their breasts after any breast surgery and they need to have regular mammograms,” Coleman said.
Years after Francipane's surgery, she hasn't had any complications and is thrilled with her results.
The surgery can run up to $16,000 because it's a duel procedure–enhancing the breasts and removing fat from other parts of your body.
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