AKA Fat grafting Fat injections Fat relocation Fat transplant Lipomodelling Body contouring Autologous fat transfer Fat redistribution
Fat transfer involves removing fat from one part of the body using liposuction, and re-inserting it into another part of the body to add volume to that particular area.
As the patient’s own fat is used, the successful fat graft remains permanent. If a significant amount of graft volume is required in one area, it may be necessary to repeat the procedure after approximately four months so the volume is built up in stages. It is not a good idea to over-saturate the area with too much fat graft in the hope of achieving extra volume as this can increase the risk of complications and failure of the graft.
Fat transfer can be used for many areas of the body:
- Facial rejuvenation: cheek enhancement, tear trough filling, lip enhancement and chin augmentation, either as part of facelift surgery or as a stand-alone procedure
- Correction of surface irregularities after liposuction
- Correction of breast deformities and asymmetries, and in breast reconstruction after partial or complete mastectomies
- Enlargement of breasts in selected patients
- Enhancement of buttocks, hips and thighs (sometimes referred to as Brazillian Buttock lift)
- Enhancement of the calves and ankles
- Rejuvenation of the back of the hands
- Correction of contour deficiencies anywhere in the body
The area from which to take the fat from is usually decided based on where it would be desirable to improve the body’s shape and contour. Most patients find this is the abdomen, flanks and thighs, but each patient is unique and this would be discussed during consultation. The amount of areas treated with liposuction, varies from patient to patient, and will usually depend on how much fat is required in the new area(s).
Fine cannulas of 3mm and less, are used for the liposuction procedure. When large volumes of fat graft are required, the Body Jet system is used. The Body Jet system is water-assisted liposuction with proven minimal trauma to the harvested fat and the donor sites, as well as reducing the operating time. It is vital that the way in which the fat is harvested and processed is with minimum trauma so not to damage the fat cells being transferred. Damaged fat cells will likely die and won’t take to the new area. The way in which it is grafted to the new area, is just as important in this process.
The fat is separated from most of the liquid, and any oil from the rupture of any fat cells if necessary. The fat is then injected with a much smaller cannulas than the ones used for harvesting. The fat is deposited in tiny particles in multiple tracks and planes from various points to maximise the success rate.
The length of the procedure will vary according to the areas being treated. Using the correct techniques of fat harvesting and grafting can minimise complications from fat transfer. All possible risks and complications associated with fat grafting will be discussed in detail during the consultation.
Incisions and scarring
Some patients may find they have tiny visible scars from where the liposuction cannulas were inserted. As with all scars, this can be significantly reduced by following the post op instructions and taking care of the areas. Usually no visible scars are left from the grafting due to the smaller size of the cannula.
All of our fat transfer procedures are performed under local anaesthetic with sedation. The patients are normally discharged home within two hours after the operation.
As with liposuction, you will usually feel a little sore and bruised for up to two weeks following your procedure. Time off work is an individual matter, and will vary from patient to patient. Things to consider would be how physically demanding your job is and the type of environment you work in. You will need to adjust your routines depending on where the fat has been grafted to, as prolonged pressure to the area can distort the location of the transferred fat cells. For example, you will need to avoid sitting for prolonged periods for a few weeks if you have had fat transferred into the buttocks.
Our surgeons will usually recommend two weeks off work, but you may be able to return sooner if you are in a sedentary role and able to take regular rest breaks. You will be fully informed about the implications of undertaking fat transfer surgery and any possible short or long-term complications.
Our surgeons will advise that you should not drive or fly for approximately three weeks following surgery.
Before and after photos
As everyone is different, it is important to understand that outcomes can vary post-operatively for each individual patient. We do not publish before and after photos of augmented breasts on our website, nor do we distribute them prior to the consultations. Our surgeons will show you some images during the consultation which are relevant to your individual case. Sometimes it can be difficult to manage expectations if you’ve seen images where the end result is not compatible with your shape and proportions. It is also useful for the surgeon to talk you through the transformation and why they achieved the result they did.
Our surgeons aim is to ensure that you have realistic expectations of what is achievable. The final decision to have surgery is, as always, your own personal choice.