One of the fastest growing trends in plastic surgery today is fat transfer, a procedure whereby fat that has been removed from the body via liposuction is filtered, purified, and then re-injected into areas that might require additional fullness, definition, or contour. Fat transfer has been successfully used to restore the appearance of gaunt, sunken cheeks, add projection and lift to the buttocks, and even to create smoother, more natural looking contours during breast augmentation surgery. Because the fat is completely natural and taken from the patient’s own body, there is little to no chance of rejection or adverse allergic reaction from the procedure and the results are often significantly longer lasting than those that could be achieved with artificial fillers like Juvéderm® or Restylane®. Many of our patients want to know more about this exciting and versatile technique, and so here are answers to some of the most common questions we are asked about fat transfer.
How does Fat Transfer work?
As we get older, our skin gradually becomes less elastic and natural fat deposits begin to break down. In the face, this often results in features that sag and droop, forming wrinkles, deep folds, and a hollow emptiness in the cheeks and around the eyes. For years, fat grafting techniques have been used to counteract this process, restoring a youthful fullness to the facial features by replacing fat that has been lost. More recently, the same basic principles have been applied on a larger scale to naturally augment the curves of the hips and buttocks during a Brazilian Butt Lift, a procedure made popular by several well-known celebrities, or even to help achieve more seamless and natural looking breast augmentation results.
Are Fat Transfer procedures safe?
Whenever an artificial graft or implant is placed within the body, there is always a chance, albeit slight, that the body will react negatively and try to force the foreign material out. Since fat transfer uses purified fat that has been taken from the patient’s own body via liposuction, there is virtually no chance of such rejection occurring. While not all of the fat survives the transfer process, and dead fat cells are removed by the body’s natural processes, the fat that remains becomes a long lasting part of the patient’s body. It is always important to remember that fat transfer, while less invasive than many other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, is still considered major surgery and, as such, is not without some element of risk. However, suitable candidates generally experience very low rates of complication and excellent, long-term results.
Who is a suitable candidate for Fat Transfer?
In most cases, patients who are suitable candidates for liposuction, specifically adults who are at or near their ideal weight and who have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone, are also suitable candidates for fat transfer. The procedure does require a source of fat that can be removed, typically in isolated areas of the abdomen or thighs depending on the specific areas to be addressed and the individual requirements of the patient. As with all cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, patients generally enjoy the most satisfaction when they go into the procedure with a positive outlook, specific, well-articulated goals, and realistic expectations.
Every patient is unique, so come in for an individual consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons so that we can determine the specific procedures that may be right for you. You can also view before and after pictures and learn about the variety of financing options, including Alphaeon® and CareCredit®, that we can provide in order to assist you, by contacting our Atlanta Plastic Surgery office in Alpharetta or at one of our other Atlanta-area offices located in Sandy Springs (Northside), Newnan, or Cumming.