Fat grafting, also known as fat transfer or fat injections, describes the procedure of transferring fat from areas with extra fat on the body to the areas that are lacking in volume. In plastic surgery, fat can be used in several ways. For reconstruction purposes, fat can be used as a graft to fill defects that are caused by scars or trauma. It can also correct problems that are congenital in nature (existing at birth). For cosmetic purposes, fat can be used to enhance lips, cheeks, buttocks, hips, and reduce the signs of aging in the face.
Fat transfer can greatly improve the contours and balance of the face in people with naturally guant or thin faces, while restoring the fat volume that gives us a youthful look that we all lose with age. While this youthful fullness of the face can also be restored with injectible fillers that typically last one year or less, fat injections may be more advantageous. The fat used will be your own tissue so there is no chance of an allergic reaction and the injections last for many years, if not permanently, which eliminates the need for return visits for upkeep.
If your face is no longer youthful looking because of deep lines and wrinkles in the cheeks, a small amount of fat can be taken out of your abdomen and transferred into those areas to achieve a more full and aesthetically pleasing appearance. The same can be done with thin lips or depressed scars as well as flat buttocks.
The Fat Transfer/Grafting Procedure
The procedure involves liposuction of the fat in areas of the body such as the abdomen, upper arms, love handles and thighs. In order to make sure this fat stays alive and viable, the fat harvesting is done gently to avoid as much trauma to the fat cells as possible. These fat cells are processed and turned into clean, smooth fat and injected in various areas of the body. Fat transfer results can vary. Some patients may see a difference for years, if not permanently.
Fat Transfer/Grafting Surgery
The surgery itself can be performed under sedation (Twilight sleep) or general anesthesia. Minor discomfort may be experienced in the few hours after surgery but it tends to fade quickly, especially with oral pain medication. Redness, bruising and swelling may occur at varying degrees depending on the individual but most of the visible signs of surgery are typically improved within one week.
Fat Transfer/Grafting Recovery
Recovery time depends on the individual – dependent on the type of work or activities you’re returning to. Swelling in the face may sometimes inhibit people from returning to work for a week. However, swelling in the body can be controlled by compression garments and covered by clothing so patients may return to work within a couple days after fat grafting surgery of the body.