Fat transfer procedures, where the fat from one part of the body is removed, and then inserted into another part of the body, has been in the news a little slowly. This is not a new procedure, but it has gained popularity since intriguing new uses are explored. What is fat transfer? How is it done? Who could benefit from this procedure? What are the risks involved?
What is fat transfer?
Literally, "fat transfer" refers to a procedure where the fat from one part of the body is removed, treated, and then reinserted into another part of the body. Patients interested in the procedure of transferring fat usually have a body part that they feel would benefit from a more complete or smoother appearance. The use of existing grease from areas that could use a little less fullness is a great alternative to using synthetic fillers.
Fat transfers have been made for decades, with references to the surgical reuse of fats dating back to the late 1800s in Germany. In recent times, fat transfers have gained popularity among cosmetic surgeons as a safe and effective way to re-contour body parts using the patient's own fat tissue.
How is it done?
With advances in liposuction technology in recent decades, the procedure is usually initiated using a liposuction cannula to extract the necessary fat from the body. Grease from typical problem areas such as thighs, stomach or buttocks is ideal for the procedure. Once the fat is removed, the surgeon can filter to remove toxins or excess fluid. Then, once properly prepared, the fat is injected into the body at the site where increased fullness is desired.
Because some of the fat will be absorbed by the body, it is necessary for the surgeon to inject more than the desired amount. Because the rate of absorption varies depending on the individual, more than one procedure may be necessary to achieve the desired results.
Who could benefit from this procedure?
There are many uses for fat transfer, depending on the specific needs of the patient. For example, it has often been used for breast augmentation or lips in patients. Men can use the process to increase the generation of their penis. Removing wrinkles or forehead wrinkles is another common use, as is increasing the shape of the buttocks. Fat transfer is a key element of high definition liposuction, where healthy, fit, active patients can reshape their bodies to highlight muscle tone and definition.
What are the risks involved?
As with any procedure of this type, there are risks, but in the case of fat transfer, the risks are usually minimal and the side effects easily controlled and cured quickly. For example, there is a risk of infection or bleeding, and sometimes a collection of fluid called seroma will occur near the incision.
Unlike non-human implants (eg, bo-tox), this procedure does not pose a risk of allergic reaction in patients since the fat used is taken from the patient. There is no danger of rejection by the body.