Fat grafting is a reliable breast augmentation technique. The physician uses the patient’s tissue to shape and enhance the breast’s appearance and look without using a synthetic device. However, if the procedure is performed several times or done by an inexperienced surgeon, hardened lumps appear on the breast. The swelling is non-cancerous, but it can be painful and alter the appearance of the breast.  

The oil cysts or hardened lumps form as a result of fat necrosis. Fat transfer during breast augmentation triggers fat necrosis. If the fat lacks blood oxygen during transfer, the fat cells die, forming fat necrosis. 

Oil cysts are soft,and they develop when the fat necrosis liquifies, solving a calcified cyst above liquid fat. Hardened fat makes the skin to bruise, and it is uncomfortable. Some patients experience both hardened lumps and oil cysts after fat graftin gas a result of fat necrosis. When the fat solidifies into scar tissue, it forms a hard-inflexible mass. Symptoms of fat necrosis include:

• Redness around the lump

• Pliable or firm lump in the breast after fat transfer

• Slight bruising around the lump

How to Reconstruct the Hard Lumps

The first step towards reconstruction is an examination by your physician. If they determine that the lump is non-cancerous and caused by fat necrosis, you can work with the physician to determine next steps. You can take the wait and see approach to see if it will disappear on its own or if it needs to be treated.  However, if the lump is painful or causes aesthetic problems, it will be advisable to treat the swelling. 

Surgeons use surgical intervention combined with ultrasound guidance to address the issue. The ultrasound reveals the number, location, and size of lumps. The physician applies local anesthesia,and they use needle aspiration to dissolve the oil cysts. The recovery time is 2 to 4 weeks depending on the number and size of the lump.