Fat Grafting (Fat Transfer Surgery)
Fat grafting, also called fat transfer, plumps up facial or body features with a patient's own fat. Fat transfer is designed to minimize wrinkles and fill in parts of the face or body with a "sunken" appearance. It can also reduce scarring and correct deformities. Since fat transfer uses your own fat cells, there is no risk of the body rejecting the tissue.
Who is a candidate?
- Facial scars, such as from acne.
- Decreased facial volume due to diseases such as hemifacial atrophy.
- Sunken cheeks and wrinkles due to aging.
- Small, depressed areas in sections of the body—such as around the breasts.
- Improved body contour, reduced scarring, or enhanced features.
- Fat transfer is performed on an outpatient basis. Both the area from which the fat is taken and the treatment site are anesthetized with a local anesthetic.
- Using a small needle, fat is removed from an area of the body where it is tightly packed, such as the abdomen or the buttocks.
- Once removed, the fat is processed to remove excess fluids and then re-injected just under the skin using another needle.
Recuperation and Healing
- Moderate swelling usually is evident for two weeks after the procedure. Some bruising also may be apparent.
- The surgeon usually over-corrects defects to allow for reabsorption, so the over-correction can make the patient's face look too plump or swollen for about a week.
- Some bruising, swelling, and redness in both the area where fat was removed and in the area where it was re-injected. Patients can typically resume their normal activities right away.
Additional cosmetic procedures that would enhance the result are face lift, eyelid surgery, facial implants, chemical peel, and laser resurfacing.
Because the fast grafting procedure is considered cosmetic, it is not covered by insurance. The patient is responsible for payment.
The specific risks and the suitability of the fat grafting procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are unusual.