Fat transfers, or fat grafting has been used for facial contouring, breast augmentation, butt augmentation, scar repair, congenital anomalies, burn injuries and plumping of areas with skin laxity such as the hands. Fat grafting started in the 80’s but has become a common technique in plastic surgery for adding volume and contour in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery.
Autologous fat grafts have several benefits, including a low risk of “rejection” because the fat is the patient’s own substance. For this reason, fat grafting is often referred to as the “natural” plastic surgery. Fat is harvested from an area that is generally more abundant with fat, then that fat is injected into a secondary site. It is a simple surgical procedure that can be lower in costs than traditional surgical procedures and have a shorter and easier recovery. Common issues people seek fat grafting for include sunken cheeks, the loss of fat from the cheekbones, deepening of the nasolabial folds, the deep grooves running from the nose to the corners of the mouth, and in some case sunken under eye areas. It is also one of the most common methods used for lip enhancement. In recent years, there has been growth in the demand to fill the loose and sagging skin on the hands, giving them a more youthful appearance. In addition, lipofilling can be used to smooth out all different types of irregularities such as those from injuries or previous procedures.
The fat is obtained by liposuction through one or several 3 to 5 mm incisions. The fat is then processed so that pure liquid fatty tissue is ready for injection. The fat is then injected where needed and is evenly distributed into the area by injecting small amounts into the tissues. This ensures that the transplanted fat is in contact with healthy surrounding tissues that will supply it with oxygen and nutrients.
After the procedure, the treated area will be overfilled as some of the fat grafted will not remain. There will be some swelling and bruising to the area the fat is removed from as well as the area the fat is injected into. After approximately 5 to 7 days the swelling and bruising will subside and you will have a follow up visit with your plastic surgeon. In some areas, more than one treatment may be required to get optimal results.
If you are experiencing fat loss in certain areas of your body or desire more fullness, schedule a consultation with one of our award winning plastic surgeons.