METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - One cosmetic procedure sounds like a dream come true for many women. Women can increase their breast size while taking fat away from other areas like their tummy and thighs.
The procedure isn't new but it is growing in popularity. Forty-five-year-old Stacy Campo said she was 60 pounds heavier than she wanted to be. But when she lost weight, she says her self-esteem dropped too, partly because of her breast size.
"Wasn't feeling good about myself, feeling miserable, hated getting dressed, putting a shirt on," Campo said. "I felt like a 10-year-old kid and I'm thinking, nobody should feel like this."
She decided on breast implants, but didn't want them to look fake.
"The more I thought about it, I just wanted to look normal, not be so obvious," Campo said.
Dr. Kamran Khoobehi of Metairie offered Campo what he calls the best of both worlds: a natural, larger look while at the same time making another area of her body look smaller. He said she was the perfect candidate for fat grafting, once a controversial procedure.
"The patient must be interested more in quality, not focused on size alone," Khoobehi said. "The patient must want a natural look and natural feel to it and also have some areas to donate the fat to harvest."
He proposed using implants, but also adding her own fat to the breast area for a softer, more tapered and natural look. Khoobehi calls it cleavage therapy.
"We take the fat from their own body and use it for cleavage and building soft tissue to camouflage it," Khoobehi said. "One thing interesting with this procedure is that there is no sign of where the chest and implant come together. That's a very common fear is that you'll see a distinct implant, and it's very obvious that you have an implant. By tapering this area with fat, you get a more natural look."
It's basically a surgical fat transfer. Instead of the traditional high-pressure liposuction, doctors use low-pressure lipo to gently remove the fat from areas like the abdomen, love handles and thighs. After it's been harvested, they inject it into the breast area. It's quick, there's no chance of an allergic reaction and only a small incision is needed.
"When you discuss it with a patient, they like the idea," Knoobehi said. "They say, okay, I have this area I want to get rid of and an area I want to put it in the most."
In the 1990s, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons warned against the procedure for fear that mammograms would be misread if injected fat calcified. The group reversed its position in 2009, calling it a safe method of breast augmentation.
Campo's fat was transferred from her abdomen and thighs, and she says she couldn't be more pleased with the results.
"I got exactly what I asked for because you really can't tell I have implants," Campo said. "I actually have softness. It's cleavage, it's soft, it's feminine."
Her bra size went from a 32-AA to a 32-C and she said it has changed her whole outlook on life.
"Really now it's totally different," she said. "I put clothes on and they fit. I can put on a bathing suit and not look 10."
The procedure isn't for everyone. A woman has to have enough fat in other places to transfer, and because it's fat, it fluctuates with weight gain and weight loss. The cost varies depending on the amount of fat being transferred.