Body Fat Transfer

The body fat transfer procedure is also known as fat grafting

Last modified: March 29, 2012

Mitchell Grasseschi, M.D., FACS
Plastic Surgeon

Ritacca Cosmetic Surgery & Medspa
and Contributing Writer

Body Fat Transfer Defined

As we age, our bodies quit exfoliating and building collagen.  Over time, we lose subcutaneous fat (directly underneath the skin) and the skin becomes noticeably thinner.  Body fat transfer is a plastic surgery procedure, and is also known as fat grafting, micro-lipoinjection or autologous transfer. Body fat transfer plastic surgery has been a popular water-cooler conversation for quite some time, and many consider it to be controversial.

A Good Candidate For Body Fat Transfer

A good candidate for body fat transfer is healthy, with no pre-existing conditions or diseases. Like all other cosmetic surgery procedures, the patient must be open to all possible outcomes and keep realistic expectations. Body fat transfer is an attractive option for many patients who do not want to spend a lot of time recovering from plastic surgery, but crave the perfect physique or face. Body fat transfer is a fairly simple plastic surgery procedure with a minimal recovery period.  Most people have enough fat to qualify for this procedure. Body fat transfer procedures are performed under local anesthesia for the site where the fat is harvested, and also regional anesthesia.

Body Fat Transfer Procedure

Patients have body fat transfer options these days; temporary or permanent filler, and fat grafting. Body fat transfer is a more natural method (when compared to Restylane or Juvederm or Hydrafill procedures) to restore volume in the cheeks, temples, folds and more. Body fat transfer has become increasingly popular amongst plastic surgery patients who want to avoid unnatural circumstances of over-stretching the skin.  Additionally, body fat transfer can be combined with a facelift, eyelid lift, brow lift or other plastic surgery procedures for an even more advanced solution to aging.

Body fat transfer is ideal for patients who do not want to lose weight overall, but would rather remove fat from a specific area into another.  A common fat transfer known as buttock augmentation involves using liposuction from the abdominals to the backside – it’s a smooth, even transfer with long-lasting results.  Extra fat can also be implanted to the lips, the nasolabial folds (the folds from the corners of your mouth to your nose), the under eye areas, the cheeks and other parts of your face and body. It is a minimally invasive plastic surgery procedure and can help correct problems like acne scars, as well as enhance the appearance of the face by creating a natural, more youthful look. 

Body Fat Transfer Risks

One of the only risks associated with this procedure is that your body tends to absorb the transferred fat at least to some degree. The amount of fat that is implanted and then absorbed by your body varies with each individual patient, but plastic surgeons have seen mostly great results when performing this plastic surgery procedure.  The results depend on factors including how the fat was removed, how it was concentrated and treated, how much was injected, and where it was injected. Unfortunately, the body’s ability to break down or metabolize fat is an uncontrollable factor.

Body Fat Transfer Results

The results from body fat transfer or fat grafting depend on the amount of fat that survives the transfer. Fat cells begin to die as soon as they are removed from the body. The cells inserted into the target area for fat-grafting need to survive to have the desired result. Plastic surgeons insert few cells at a time to attempt to preserve the red blood cells which encourage fat cells to stabilize in the new location, however the treatment may need repeating to achieve the desired result.

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