As you get older, you might notice changes in your face and parts of your body. One of the most common is a decrease in fat, which leads to the softening and drooping of structure. You might also hear this described as a loss of volume.
However, the good news is you can do something about it. More specifically, it’s possible to transfer fat from one part of your body to another. The beauty of this method, which is called a fat transfer or fat grafting, is that it usually doesn’t lead to any scarring. In addition, the fat that’s transferred contains stem cells, which have regenerative powers. Fat grafting can make your face and body appear younger, healthier and smoother for years and years. Unlike other cosmetic options, it doesn’t involve artificial substances.
What happens during the process of fat transfers or fat grafting?
Put simply, a fat transfer involves taking fat from one part of your body and transferring it to another. While some patients remain awake throughout the procedure, others need sedation of some kind. A local anaesthetic can help to minimise bruising because it contains adrenaline, which narrows blood vessels.
Although fat grafting might sound dramatic, only tiny amounts of fat are involved. Once deciding on the best area of the body for fat extraction, your surgeon will undertake liposuction, which requires extremely small cuts in the skin. These small incisions do not require stitches. Next, this fat is injected into another area with small syringes.
Liposculpture vs Liposuction
Liposculpture is a safer and more effective form of Liposuction that can be performed on an outpatient basis, without the need for general anaesthetic and with less down-time and post-operative discomfort.
Liposculpture is ideal for removing fat from areas of the body otherwise resistant to dietary modification and regular exercise. It is not intended as a means for generalised weight loss.
Fat Transfer - Key Facts
Which parts of the face and body can be treated with fat transfers or fat grafting?Essentially, the aim of a fat transfer is to restore sections of the face and body that have lost volume due to ageing. In the face, areas that commonly need treatment include the cheeks, lips, eyes, corners of the mouth, chin and the fold between the mouth and the nose. In the body, a fat transfer is most common in the hands, butt and breasts. Fat grafting involving the butt is often referred to as a Brazilian butt lift (BPL). Fat can also be grafted into areas where there has been a loss of fatty tissue due to trauma such as burns or scarring. Replacing fat in these situations not only helps fill the area of deficiency but also provides a rejuvenative effect in and around the affected area.
Is a fat transfer painful?The key to avoiding pain during a fat transfer is receiving the right anaesthetic. This numbs the areas involved in the treatment, ensuring that you don't feel needles entering your skin.
How many fat transfer sessions will I need?There's no single answer to this question. The number of fat transfer sessions needed for successful results depends upon the person. As a rule of thumb, a plastic or cosmetic surgeon would rather add insufficient fat than too much, as a fat transfer cannot be reversed. For this reason, it's a good idea to undergo a series of fat transfer sessions. These should be spaced a minimum of two months apart. However, it's only in the first session that liposuction takes place: at that point, the surgeon extracts as much fat as is necessary for future treatments, then freezes it. There are some doctors who prefer to overcompensate and inject more fat than is required. For example, with Brazilian Butt Lifts, some doctors argue that there will be a percentage of fat that can be lost following the transfer. As such, these doctors may inject 20-40% more fat to compensate for the supposed loss. The main disadvantage with this approach is that if there is excellent retention of the fat, than the area may be filled above the desired amount producing an undesirable outcome. Also, it is important to note that some areas of the body are excellent retainers of fat. An example of such an area is around the eyes. Very small amounts should be injected here as there is almost a 100% retention rate.
What happens after fat grafting? What does after care involve?
Following fat grafting, you should take good care of yourself. Immediately afterwards, you're likely to notice bruising and swelling. This usually lasts for about a week, before gradually disappearing. In addition, if your treatment involves drains, you'll need to find out how to look after them.
To promote your body's natural healing processes, avoid strenuous exercise, which adds stress. At the same time, don't spend too much time lying around, as smooth blood flow is also important. For most people, daily gentle walking is appropriate. Once you feel as though you'd like to return to your regular exercise routine, get the all-clear from your surgeon. It's advisable to book a follow-up appointment immediately after the procedure.
If you notice any worrying symptoms or pain at any point following a fat transfer or fat grafting, be sure to contact your surgeon as soon as possible.