Fat transfer, also known as fat grafting, involves removing fat from an area of the body with excess fat through liposuction and placing it in an area with deficient volume. First, Dr. Chan will remove fat with a cannula, or steel tube, from usually the waist, stomach or thighs. The fat will then be processed to purify it before it’s placed into an area of the body with insufficient volume. Since fat grafting is minimally invasive, many patients find it an attractive option. Results are consistent since the patient’s own fat is used with little chance of the body rejecting it.
During this procedure, fat is removed from the donor sites via liposuction. An antibiotic solution is used which allows for a complete separation of the fat so that only healthy tissue is used for reinjection. This fat is prepared in syringes and slowly reinstated into the body part where shape and contour are needed. During the injection process, the area will be slowly massaged so the fat deposits settle in compact layers for the best contour finish possible. Normally, multiple injections are necessary to create an even spread of fat and achieve an ideal outcome.
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Fat transfer treatment is performed with general anesthesia when it covers larger areas while local anesthesia or IV sedation is used if the area to be treated is small. Both methods will be treated as an outpatient treatment at an accredited surgical facility. The procedure will cause swelling and bruising on both the removal and injection sites. These side effects will subside in a few days. Recovery time depends on several factors, including how many body parts were involved in the surgery, as well as how much fat was transferred. Scarring is generally minimal with this procedure as the incisions made are just big enough for the cannula to be inserted.
Fat Transfer FAQs
How Long do the Results Last?
A fat transfer procedure can give results that will last for years. While the concern of fat reabsorption is something to consider, a skilled surgeon will be able to maximize the outcome by using the tested techniques in terms of fat layering. There is an ongoing research study that promises long-term stability of these grafted fat tissues, which involves Platelet Rich Plasma to enhance fat cells before transplanting them into the body.
Loss of Voluma?
When properly performed, a fat transfer can last a long time. In areas where the fat does get resorbed, the area can continue to be tweaked. For patients who want to continue to have volume enhancement, but desire natural results (i.e., lip enhancement), this is an ideal procedure. This is especially the case for those who are not comfortable using an implant.
How About Scarring?
Scarring is minimal during a fat transfer procedure. Any scars that remain will be small (either where the cannula or the syringe was inserted for the transfer). The incisions are usually placed in areas where they can be concealed by clothing.
For loss of facial volume, there are treatments that may be considered that will also produce positive results. For wrinkle problems, an injectable filler may be suitable. These fillers may include collagen or hyaluronic acid. For long-term results, patients may consider PMMA, an injectable filler that offers a semi-permanent solution. Every option can be discussed in detail during the initial consultation.
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