In recent years, “fat grafting” or “fat transfer” has become very popular. Fat grafting is essentially taking fat from areas of excess and giving it to areas of deficiency. Many plastic surgeons have said that “fat grafting” is the “hottest” thing in plastic surgery at the present time. However, it is not a new technique. Dr. Butler, Dr. Leveque, and Dr. Patterson have been using fat transfer since the start of their careers 20 years ago.
Fat grafting is a powerful technique that has many applications in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Aging, cancer, and injury can all leave certain tissues and areas of the body with a deficiency of fat tissue. These areas of deficiency even occur in overweight patients who have an overall total body excess of fat tissue. The areas that most commonly develop a deficiency of fat tissue with aging include the back of the hands, the buttocks, and the face. At Gulf Coast Plastic Surgery we utilize fat grafting most commonly in Face Lifts, Hand Rejuvenation, Brazilian Butt Lifts, and some Breast Reconstruction cases.
In pure liposuction cases, where the fat is discarded (not transferred/grafted), the only goal is to remove the patient’s unwanted fat and leave behind a nice contour. Careful harvest of the fat cells for future survival in a new location is not important in pure liposuction cases because the removed fat is discarded.
In fat grafting cases, attention is paid to carefully removing the fat so that it will remain viable for transfer (grafting) into a new location. This means using special cannulas, suction devices and processing techniques to get the fat ready for injection into a new location. The face, hands, and buttocks all require different harvesting, processing and injection techniques.
The pros of fat grafting are that the technique uses the patient’s own tissue (autologous) and the results are permanent, meaning the fat cells that survive the transfer will persist as long as the host tissue remains alive. Another pro is that fat is much less expensive than a biologic filler (such as Juvederm). The biggest con of fat grafting includes the inability to precisely predict how much fat will survive the transfer and live in the new location. However, because of their experience and meticulous care when harvesting and transferring fat, Drs. Leveque, Butler, and Patterson are able to give patients beautiful and long-lasting results.
Office/Clinic, Surgery Center or Hospital
Local anesthesia in the office/clinic; or general anesthesia at a surgery center or hospital.
Performed by: Dr. Butler, Dr. Leveque, Dr. Patterson
*Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank: Statistics 2013. (2014). Aesthetic Surgery Journal / the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 34(1 suppl), 1S-22S.doi:10.1177/1090820X14542571