Fat Transfer Overview
Fat transfer refers to a surgical procedure in which fat is extracted from donor sites on the body (usually the abdomen or inner thighs), purified and subsequently injected into other areas of the body. Fat transfer is a surgical technique used in the following procedures:
• Facial Rejuvenation
• To fix dents/dimples left from liposuction
Since fat transfer is an autologous procedure (meaning it utilizes the patient’s own tissue), it can be a good choice for patients who are allergic or opposed to synthetic implants or fillers.
Dr. Vallecillos will provide you with pre-operative care instructions based on your diagnosis and the treatments you are planning to receive. You will be instructed to stop taking anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning medications for at least two weeks before your surgery. Smoking delays healing and can heighten your risk of complications, and should be stopped for at least two weeks before and after surgery. Patients over the age of 45 will need to be evaluated and cleared for surgery by an independent physician prior to undergoing a fat transfer procedure.
Since fat transfer surgeries require the use of liposuction, general anesthesia is most commonly used.
- Fat transfer is a surgical technique with many different applications, from breast and butt augmentation to face and hand rejuvenation.
Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation
During this procedure, liposuction is used to remove fat from donor sites on the body; this fat is then purified and injected into the breasts as tiny microdroplets through small punctures, evenly distributed throughout several layers of the breast.
While fat transfer breast augmentation is an alternative to silicone gel or saline-filled breast implants, it is important to note that it cannot provide the same range of sizes afforded by implants. Fat transfer breast augmentation is best for patients who seek a subtle increase in breast size.
Brazilian Butt Augmentation
During a Brazilian butt augmentation, liposuction is used to remove fat from donor sites on the body, usually the abdomen or inner thighs, and is then purified, prepared, and injected into the butt. The result is a subtly larger, perkier butt.
Fat transfer to the hands can effectively restore lost volume and reverse some of the signs of aging.
Fat transfer to the face is a natural alternative to other dermal fillers and can be used to restore lost volume to the eyes, cheeks, nasolabial folds, and lips.
Even when performed expertly, one of the possible side effects of liposuction are dents or dimples in the skin, usually due to over-extraction in a single area. Fat transfer can restore this lost volume and reduce or eliminate the appearance of these dents.
Fat Transfer FAQ
Who is a candidate for fat transfer surgery?
Fat transfer surgery has many applications, and candidates range accordingly. In general you should be an adult who is in good health, doesn’t smoke, and has realistic expectations. Fat transfer can be used in surgical procedures to augment the breasts or butt, restore lost volume to the face or hands, and correct dents or dimples from liposuction.
What is the recovery time for fat transfer surgery?
Patient downtime for fat transfer surgery varies depending on the extent of the treatment and the type of procedure performed. More invasive procedures like fat transfer for breast and butt augmentation will have longer patient downtime, while fat transfer to the face or hands will entail less downtime. You should arrange for a friend, family member, or care giver to drive you home after surgery, and carefully follow Dr. Vallecillos’ post-operative care plan to avoid complications during healing.
Are there risks or side effects with fat transfer surgery?
All surgeries carry some risk. Since fat transfer uses the patient’s own tissue, there is no risk of an autoimmune reaction. However, the success of the graft will depend on how well the tissue “takes,” or vascularizes in the treated area. Smaller treatment areas tend to have higher vascularization and subsequently less residual loss of grafted fat. However, all patients should understand that the body will reabsorb some of the grafted fat.
It is important to note that the procedure is still evolving and further studies are required to determine its long-term effectiveness. Additional, albeit rare, complications can include cell necrosis (or death of the grafted tissue), infection, and asymmetry, all of which could require additional procedures. Patients should discuss side effects, risks and benefits with Dr. Vallecillos when considering a fat transfer surgery.
How long do the results last?
The body can reabsorb anywhere from 30-50% of the grafted fat, making fat transfer surgeries effective long-term, though not permanent, solutions.