Fat Transfer is a procedure used to plump up facial features with a patient’s own fat. Also known as autologous fat transplantation or micro-lipoinjection, it is a popular alternative to other wrinkle treatments. Fat transfer is a safe, natural procedure designed to correct skin defects such as furrows, wrinkles, depressions and deformities. Because the procedure uses the patient’s own fat cells, there is no worry of an allergic reaction.
How does Fat Transfer Work?
The procedure involves taking fat from one area on the patient (donor site) and transferring to the area being treated (recipient site). The donor site should be a location which has a thick layer of fat, preferably the lower stomach, thigh or buttock. Both the donor site and the recipient site are anesthetized. A needle attached to a syringe is inserted into the donor site, and fat cells are withdrawn. These fat cells are then purified to remove excess fluid and then carefully re-injected into the recipient site in multiple thin strands or pearl sized beads, depending on the treatment area. Slight “over-filling” is necessary since some of the fat will be eventually absorbed by your body. The process is repeated until the desired amount of fat has been transferred. The doctor then applies a pressure bandage donor site and recipient site to prevent blood clots and swelling.
This procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis. The doctor may prescribe mild painkillers for discomfort following the procedure. There may be some swelling and bruising at the treatment site, which will diminish. The patient can go back to normal activities right away, but strenuous activity should be avoided for a few days. One initial injection generally lasts up to six months. Since the body will naturally reabsorb some of the transferred fat, for best results, three or four treatments over a six-month period will last much longer, sometime as long as three years.
Fat transfer procedures are often performed in conjunction with other procedures, such as liposuction, tummy tuck or cosmetic breast surgery. For the convenience of the patient, the doctor may withdraw an excess amount of fat from the recipient site, then freeze and store your fat for future injections. The advantages of the fat transfer procedure include:
* Cost effective when combined with another procedure
* Less invasive then a surgical lift
* No risk of allergic reaction
The fat transfer procedure is not recommended for the breast area, as it would make the results of mammograms harder to diagnose and more difficult to detect breast cancer.