When looking to enhance your appearance, a fat transfer can provide many benefits. Fat transfer is a multi-step procedure that removes fat from less-than-ideal locations and uses it to subtly enhance targeted areas, such as the face, body, and breasts. This two-for-one deal allows a patient to address multiple body concerns in a single operation.
Fat transfer procedures use a patient’s fat to enhance areas of the body. Because there is usually already fat present in the enhanced locations, this procedure provides more natural and subtle enhancement than implants or injectables.
This procedure removes fat from unwanted body areas, such as the thighs, flanks, abdomen, hips, or back. These areas can be slimmed and contoured as part of a fat transfer to provide a more youthful and healthier appearance where fat was extracted.
One of the main advantages of a fat transfer is that fat can be drawn from (and injected into) most locations on the body. This makes the procedure highly customizable to the patient’s specific needs without increasing the procedure’s complexity or risk.
Fat is extracted via liposuction techniques. This procedure uses small tubes called cannulas to extract fat cells through small incisions made over the fat deposits. After the fat is extracted, the incisions are closed. These incisions should result in little to no scarring.
Fat cells are not the only thing extracted during liposuction. Small amounts of blood, stem cells, and other tissue matter can be removed as part of the extraction process. After the fat is extracted, it is run through a centrifuge to ensure that only the useful cells are kept for further procedural steps.
The purified fat cells are injected into the areas targeted for enhancement. Because the fat is naturally part of the patient’s body, there is no risk of rejection. However, there is a risk of fat absorption over time. For this reason, Dr. Pearce will inject slightly more fat than desired into the targeted areas. Over time, as the excess fat is absorbed, the ideal contours should become visible.
Patients are advised to keep pressure, weight, and tension off the sites where the fat has been injected for two to six weeks. This is to give the fat cells time to re-establish themselves in the new location. Failure to do this can result in some fat cells dying, which will reduce the procedure’s overall results. Most patients can return to work within a week of the procedure. Most daily activities may be resumed after two to three weeks, but rigorous activities should be avoided for six weeks.
Patients will experience swelling and mild to moderate discomfort immediately following the procedure. These symptoms can be alleviated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or pain medications.
Scars from the liposuction procedure may occur but will usually be small and easy to conceal. There should be no scarring around the fat injection sites.
Initial results may be visible within one to two weeks as swelling subsides. However, due to the risk of fat absorption, the treated areas may remain over-sized for some weeks following the procedure. Final results should stabilize between two and six months following the procedure. The degree of fat absorption varies with each patient, so patients should contact Dr. Pearce if their results are less than adequate after six months.
Ideal candidates for a fat transfer are in good health with unwanted fat deposits and areas where subtle and natural-looking enhancement is desirable. Patients should be aware that fat injections will not have the same effect as implants or more aggressive surgical treatments. Be sure to discuss your goals with Dr. Pearce during your consultation.
The cost of a fat transfer will vary depending on the areas the fat is removed from and the locations where it is injected. The price of a fat transfer may also vary depending on the facility, surgeon, and anesthesia fees. Dr. Pearce will provide you with a personalized quote after your consultation once he has developed a treatment plan.
If a fat transfer is used to enhance the volume of breasts, patients can expect to gain between a half cup and a full cup. This may vary depending on the amount of fat extracted, injected, and the patient’s physical condition. For women looking for substantial breast enlargement, breast implants are still more reliable as they allow for a more significant increase in size.
Fat grafting to the breasts is ideal for women interested in a subtle enlargement and do not want traditional silicone or saline implants.
Liposuction results and subsequent body contouring will be effectively permanent, provided the patient maintains a stable weight. Excessive weight gain may cause the benefits of fat extraction to fade. The enhanced areas will also be permanently affected; however, volume loss tends to occur over time due to age, and a fat transfer can only slow this process, not stop it entirely. Therefore, the beneficial aspects of a fat transfer may fade over time depending on the areas treated, the amount of fat injected, and the patient’s rate of fat absorption.
Because the injection areas will have a higher volume of fat cells, they will see the greatest increase should weight gain occur.
Because the procedure carries no risk of rejection, fat transfers are among the safest of all cosmetic surgeries. However, as with any surgery, there are some unavoidable risks. These may include: