While fat transfer techniques date back to the late 1800’s, it’s really only recently that the procedure has become more popular. Though you might hear the procedure referred to by a variety of terms – fat transfer, fat grafting, fat injection – they all refer to the removal of fat cells from an area of the body that contains excess fat, followed by injection into a new area of the body that can benefit from additional volume. The goal is generally to add volume to the recipient area to make it appear fuller or more plump. Fat transfers involve a three-step process that includes extraction of fat via liposuction, processing and preparation of the removed fat, and injection into the new location.
The Benefits of Fat Transfer
Fat transfer is a very safe procedure that produces no visible scarring and natural, long-lasting results. While some amount of the injected fat may be reabsorbed by the body immediately after treatment, the results are generally considered permanent within six months of treatment. Over injection may be necessary to accommodate reabsorption. Fat transfer procedures may only need to be complete once. Popular areas for fat to be transferred to include the hands, breasts, buttocks, and numerous areas on the face. The face is a common recipient site as injecting fat can help to restore lost volume and create a more youthful appearance. Individuals who have bags under their eyes may also be good candidates for fat injections. These injections can fill the area under the eyes, and the cheeks, and also can be used in the chin to help lift the face. Fat transfers can be combined with face lift procedures due to their ability to restore volume for a more youthful appearance. Fat transfers are also used in hand rejuvenation, Brazilian butt lifts, lip enhancement, and breast reconstruction.
Understanding the Fat Transfer Process
Anesthesia may be utilized during fat injection procedures, and this may be administered with an IV or as a local anesthetic to the treatment area. This will be determined based on your individual procedure and the area receiving treatment. Common donor sites include the outer thigh, lower abdomen, hip, and lower back which often contain excess fat. Once the fat is removed with gentle liposuction, the fat is placed in a centrifuge to separate the fat which is then injected into the recipient site. Generally, the best graft results can come from using small cannulas during the fat extraction process.
Discomfort may occur during recovery from fat injection procedures. Swelling may also occur and avoiding stress or pressure on the injection area for at least three weeks will be necessary. The blood vessels will need time to grow into the fat graft and strengthen, and this takes approximately two or three days. After the blood vessels have become stronger, the matrix surrounding the fat graft will need to become strong enough to handle stress and pressure. Recovery will also include numerous post-op office visits to ensure that you are healing and achieving the desired results. To learn more about fat transfer and other procedures, contact Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery at (866) 487-3223.