Also called “fat grafting” and “autologous fat transfer,” fat transfer involves removing a portion of a person’s excess body fat and placing it into another area of his or her body that needs more volume. When used for the face, it can restore lost volume in the lips, temples, cheeks and chin. Fat transplantation is effective in treating sunken areas, lines, wrinkles, creases, acne scars and other issues caused by the decrease in volume that results from aging, sun damage and other conditions.
Liposuction is used to harvest the fat typically from the abdomen, buttocks and thighs. The fat is then processed and “purified” before being injected. Both the injection site and the liposuctioned area are numbed with local anesthesia prior to treatment. Unlike with other fillers and volume-enhancing treatments, because fat is taken from the patient’s own body, there is no risk of allergic reaction or rejection.
During fat grafting, fat is removed using liposuction, in which a cannula (a thin, hollow tube) is inserted through small incisions, and then moved back and forth to loosen excess fat, which is suctioned out using a vacuum or a cannula-attached syringe. The fat is then purified, and injected into the treatment area via a syringe, just like dermal filler injectable treatment. Fat transfer can be performed on an outpatient or in-office basis based on patient’s comfort level, medical history and if it is combined with other procedures. The length of the procedure varies depending upon the extent of the treatment.
After fat transfer, most patients experience mild swelling and bruising that last about a week, meticulous pre/post instructions are provided for optimum outcome. Patients undergoing fat transfer will be overcorrected (overfilled) since not all grafted fat will survive the transfer. Patients will gradually settled into the desired look.
Although fat transplantation is generally considered safe, risks include the following:
Studies show that results of fat transfer are greatly dependent on a surgeon’s expertise and technique, particularly in regard to the harvesting of fat. Our surgeon’s goal when performing fat transfer is not to change how you look, but rather to recreate the natural, healthy appearance of your youthful face. The chance of complications is minimized by choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience in performing fat grafting.