Fat Transfer

What is Fat Transfer ?

Sucking fat from your hips and thighs and injecting it into your boobs or butt may seem like a dream come true—and for some, it is. The process, called fat transfer or fat grafting, involves removing fat from one part of the body via a gentle liposuction, and then injecting it elsewhere.

It works well all over the body, but is most commonly used on the face to enhance cheeks, fill hollow lower eyelids, and build up areas that have lost volume due to aging. It’s also commonly used to plump up butts and to increase breast size and improve breast shape.

Because you’re injecting your body with something produced by your body, some people consider it “natural” plastic surgery, and it’s increasing in popularity. Breast augmentation using fat transfer increased 72 percent in 2016 while buttock augmentation using fat transfer increased by 26 percent.

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Fat Transfer Candidates

Though fat transfer is a fast-growing procedure that produces beautiful results and works well for many people, it is not the right option for everyone. Ideal fat transfer candidates are people who would like to add subtle, natural volume to one or more areas of the body or rejuvenate the aging face. Candidates for fat transfer must be in general good health for safety reasons.

Patients must have enough fat to be used for the desired type of transfer—more for fat transfer to the buttocks or hips, less for fat transfer to the face. Prior liposuction can create scar tissue, limiting potential harvest sites. Patients should have realistic expectations for the procedure, and explore all available treatment options before making a decision.

Fat Transfer Procedure?

The fat transfer procedure may be performed under a number of different anesthesia types (from local to general), depending on the number of areas to be treated, and the amount of fat to be transferred. Fat transfer is an outpatient procedure at our Atlanta, Georgia facility, and begins with liposuction, generally of the stomach, hips, or thighs. During the first part of the treatment, fat is gently removed from the harvest sites through small incisions and the areas contoured for a more aesthetically-pleasing silhouette.

Harvested fat is then gently strained and prepared for injection, with minimal handling or manipulation to help assure good graft survival. This purified fat is then injected into any of the following areas:

  • Buttocks, for improving volume and refining roundness and contour
  • Hips, for enhancing an hourglass figure
  • Face, for filling in wrinkles and restoring lost volume
  • Breasts or stomach, for smoothing out irregularities
  • Other areas, such as depressed scars from prior trauma

In some cases, the surgeon may overfill treated areas during the injection process. This is because some of the fat will fail to establish a blood supply and eventually die, being disposed of or absorbed by the body and reducing overall volume gained from the procedure. By overfilling the area, permanent volume will be more in line with patient expectations.

Recovery

The only incisions involved with fat transfer are those caused by the liposuction surgery used for fat harvest. The fat injection process that follows is minimally invasive. Therefore, people often experience only a brief recovery period, getting back to normal activities quickly. Patients should expect to take about a week off to rest and heal following surgery. Bruising, swelling, and discomfort are normal side effects, but any pain can be controlled with medication, and should subside within a few days.

Results appear gradually over a period of months as swelling goes down and the grafted fat establishes itself in the treated areas. Patients can expect to see final results from the procedure after about 6 months.

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