Fat Transfer (Fat grafting or Fat injection)
A fat grafting procedure transfers fat from areas in which you have excess fat, such as the outer thighs, and injects it into areas that may be lacking in volume, such as your face, hands, breasts or buttocks. This safe, long-lasting, well-tolerated procedure produces natural-looking results.
When to Consider Fat Transfer
-If you have facial areas that appear creased and sunken
-If you desire more permanent correction than is provided by temporary fillers
-If you wish to improve your body contour, revise scars, fill bodily depressions and rejuvenate your
hands and face
-For use in breast reconstruction, to fill in contour irregularities or hide obvious signs of breast
– Autologous fat (from your own body), as opposed to dermal fillers, replaces “like with like,” reducing
the chance of allergic reactions to foreign substances.
– Fat transfer results are natural, long lasting and safe.
– Fat transfer is a noninvasive method for achieving facial rejuvenation.
– It is time consuming to prepare fat tissue before transferring it, compared to dermal fillers, which are
– Though longer lasting than dermal fillers, fat transfer costs more.
– For augmentation, you may require multiple sessions to achieve your desired breast or buttock size.
Am I a good candidate for a fat transfer?
The purpose of fat grafting is to augment or fill in volume-deficient areas. Commonly grafted, or injected, areas include the hands, face (including the lips), depressions in the skin (following liposuction and scarring) and the breast and buttock (for augmentation). Facial fat transfer: If you have facial creases, such as laugh lines, smile lines, and crow’s-feet, fat can be removed from your abdomen, thighs, or other areas and be injected into your face. Acne scars and sunken areas of the face, lips, and cheeks can also be filled in. Your plastic surgeon can even use grafted fat to minimize lines between your nose and mouth, correct skin depressions or indentations and minimize forehead wrinkles.Breast augmentation: If you desire a modest increase in breast size, you are a good candidate for fat grafting to the breast, but your breasts should already have a nice shape and good skin tone. If you have poor skin, sagging breasts, or want a significant increase in breast size, breast augmentation with fat transfer is not for you. The problem with only using fat for breast enhancement lies in getting large volumes of fat to predictably “take.”
Breast implants plus fat grafting: If your breast shape needs optimizing during a breast implant procedure, fat grafting can be useful. If you have residual breast irregularities after undergoing breast augmentation with implants, the irregularities can be filled in with fat to produce a smooth
contour and an optimal shape.
Breast reconstruction with fat grafting: If you have breast defects following lumpectomy for breast cancer, fat grafting is an effective method for filling in these defects. Fat grafting is also an option for total breast reconstruction following mastectomy; however, to achieve sufficient breast volume, this is usually a multistage process that requires at least two to four sequential fat grafting procedures.
Buttock augmentation with fat grafting: Many people who desire a fuller, more rounded buttock will opt for a “Brazilian butt lift,” which uses fat transfer to provide a more curvaceous buttock without the use of an implant. Liposuction is commonly used to both sculpt the surrounding area and collect the autologous fat to be injected.
Hand rejuvenation with fat grafting: Fat grafting into your hands is effective for adding volume,“plumping up” wrinkled areas, covering underlying vessels and tendons and improving the quality of
your skin over time.
About the procedure
How is a fat transfer procedure performed?
Fat is harvested from one part of your body, washed and purified, and then carefully reinjected with specially designed needles into the areas that need augmentation. It may be necessary to repeat the fat grafting procedure several times to achieve the desired result.
What will the fat transfer incisions and scars be like?
Your only scars may result from liposuction, which is used to remove fat from the donor site.Because liposuction incisions are small, the scars are also small and are placed in hidden areas. Sometimes depending on the location of fat deposits on your body, the incisions cannot be hidden.
Preparing for Your Procedure
– Stop smoking at least six weeks before the procedure to avoid poor wound healing and scarring.
– Avoid taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs: Advil, Motrin, Aleve) and
vitamins/homeopathic regimens that can increase bleeding.
– Regardless of the type of procedure to be performed, hydration is very important before and after for
– Arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and stay with you for at least the first twenty-
four hours unless you and your surgeon have decided on other postoperative recovery options.
Aftercare and Recovery
How will I look and feel immediately following a fat transfer?
Your plastic surgeon will advise you how to care for the sites from which fat was extracted. Recovery from fat injections is variable and perception of that recovery is even more highly variable. Here is
some general recovery information related to facial fat injections:
– The swelling and bruising during the first week are significant, and you will not be ready to see
others socially or professionally.
– In the second week the bruising resolves, but you will still have swelling.
– There is great improvement in most cases between the seventh and tenth days, but you may still not
be ready to go out in public. Most people who have very little time off from work take one week off,
including two flanking weekends. Those who can afford two weeks off or more are even better
positioned to return to work.
– By the third week you will begin to look more like yourself. Careful application of makeup can be
helpful in camouflaging any residual signs of swelling or bruising.
– Once the swelling recedes, you will be able to appreciate the changes, but subtle swelling may
persist for weeks.
How Long Will the Results Last?
When done successfully, the injected fat establishes a new blood supply from your body and receives the nourishment it needs for survival. When this happens, results can and often are permanent; however, there may be a percentage of fat that does not take, which is why touchup procedures are sometimes necessary.
Limitations and Risks
– Adverse reaction to anesthesia
– Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
– Changes in sensation
– Allergic reactions
– Damage to underlying structures
– Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures