In recent years, cosmetic surgery has witnessed remarkable advancements, particularly in breast augmentation techniques. One such ground-breaking procedure is auto augmentation, a surgical approach designed to enhance breast shape by only using the patient’s existing breast tissue. This innovative technique has gained popularity among women seeking natural-looking and long-lasting results. In this article, I will explain the concept of auto augmentation, its benefits, and when best to use this technique.
What is Auto Augmentation?
Auto augmentation is a breast reshaping procedure that utilises a woman’s existing breast tissue to create a fuller and more youthful appearance. Unlike traditional breast augmentation methods that rely heavily on implants, auto augmentation focuses on restructuring the existing breast tissue to achieve a desired aesthetic outcome of redistributing tissue volume higher up in the breast. By utilising the patient’s own tissue, auto augmentation aims to enhance the breasts while maintaining a natural look and feel.
The surgical technique involves repositioning the tissue from the lower part of the breast to the upper part. In the standard technique this involves dividing the breast into an upper segment on which the nipple and areolar are still attached and a lower segment of breast tissue only. This lower segment or flap of tissue is then fixed to the chest wall behind the upper segment, in a similar way to the positioning of a breast implant. The breast is therefore fundamentally restructured, with lower breast tissue moved higher up on the chest wall to increase the volume in the upper part. In contrast to silicone breast implants, there is no volume added to the breast, hence the use of ‘augmentation’ in this context is incorrect. Perhaps a more accurate term should be ‘breast restructuring to look like an implant’ although of course this doesn’t roll of the tongue quite so easily!
Because many patients are seeking an ‘augmented’ or much more youthful look without the use of silicone breast implants, the technique has gained popularity in recent times. However, some surgeons will now use this term to simple describe reshaping of the breast to a more projected and youthful shape, without actually carrying out the full restructuring procedure. In my own practice, I will sometimes reshape the breast in a breast uplift procedure by using dissolving mesh, which is also designed to produce this ‘augmented look’, although I tend to reserve the use of the term auto augmentation to the exact restructuring procedure.
What are the benefits of Auto Augmentation?
Improved Breast Shape:
Although this procedure does not increase the overall breast volume, it does improve breast shape. Auto augmentation is designed to address issues such as drooping or sagging breasts, resulting in a perkier and more youthful contour.
Auto augmentation allows for the creation of fuller breasts using the patient’s own tissue, resulting in a more natural appearance and texture compared to traditional breast implants.
By relying on the existing breast tissue, auto augmentation offers a potentially longer-lasting outcome compared to breast implants alone. Silicone breast implants will not last forever and always need to be changed at some point. In contrast, the natural breast tissue used in auto augmentation tends to age more gracefully over time, providing sustained aesthetic results.
In what situations is the Auto Augmentation technique used?
Breast uplift or mastopexy:
This is the main procedure that utilises the auto augmentation technique. No tissue, or very little, is removed and the breast is reshaped and uplifted. For the majority of modest mastopexy procedures the auto augmentation technique is not needed as it can cause significant disruption to the tissue, which might outweigh the benefit in many cases. However, in cases where a major uplift is needed, for example following massive weight loss, this can be an extraordinarily powerful technique to provide better shape long term.
Whilst auto-augmentation can be used as part of a breast reduction operation, I do not routinely favour this option for this group of patients. The main reason for this is that, as described above, in auto augmentation the lower breast tissue is preserved and repositioned. When this is used as part of a breast reduction, then in order to reduce the overall size of the breast, some of the upper breast tissue must be removed. In my opinion, this is counterintuitive because it is safer to simply keep the upper breast tissue, which is already in the correct place. I therefore prefer to remove the lower breast tissue in a breast reduction procedure.
There is very good evidence that the lower breast tissue flaps (inferior pedicle technique) for breast reduction often sag and ‘bottom out’ over time leading to an unattractive ‘boxy breast’. This is the main reason that I prefer to use a pedicle for the nipple and tissue which is based higher up (superior-medial). I believe, with scientific evidence of support, that this gives greater longevity to the procedure and maintains a better nerve supply to the nipple, thus preserving as much sensation as possible. I have worked hard over several years to optimise my breast reduction technique, which is described elsewhere on the website. This is known as the FIT pattern procedure, which I prefer to an auto augmentation technique for routine breast reduction patients.
I think it is important to point out here that the definition of auto augmentation is rather vague and some surgeons will simply call their standard breast re-shaping procedure auto augmentation without employing the classic restructuring technique. I believe that my FIT pattern breast reduction produces a superior breast shape that often resembles an implant but I think it would be misleading to call this auto augmentation.
Breast implant removal:
I have found the use of the auto augmentation technique the most useful in this situation. Once the breast implant has been removed, it leaves a space behind the top of the breast. Left unfilled, this gives a very empty look to the breast even in some cases where a more traditional uplift is performed. The lower tissue flap of an auto augmentation technique is perfect for this situation and truly optimises the shape of the breast using the patient’s own breast tissue after implant removal. I have created an animation to show exactly how this works on my breast implant removal procedure page.
Before and after image, following breast implant removal and auto augmentation
In summary, auto augmentation represents a revolutionary approach to breast enhancement surgery, offering women the opportunity to achieve natural-looking results by utilising their existing breast tissue. With its potential for long-lasting outcomes and improved breast shape, this innovative procedure has gained popularity among those seeking a more authentic and balanced appearance. If you are considering breast reshaping, consult with a well-trained plastic surgeon to explore whether auto augmentation is the right choice for you. Remember, an informed decision is key to achieving your desired aesthetic goals while prioritising your overall well-being.
By Paul Harris | Optimising Breast Shape with Auto Augmentation | Date of Publishing 31st July 2023