Also called fat grafting or autologous fat transfer, fat transplantation involves the removal and relocation of the patient's own body fat to plump up an area of the face. It is a surgical procedure that involves restoring lost volume in the lips, temples, cheeks or chin with the patient's own fat. This procedure is effective in treating sunken areas, facial lines, acne scars and other problems of lost volume that have developed as a result of aging, sun damage and other conditions. Fat transplantation is also commonly used for wrinkle and crease reduction.
Fat is removed from the patient through liposuction. It is often taken from an area that has excess fat that the patient is happy to have sculpted, such as the abdomen, buttocks or thighs. It is then processed and purified before being injected into the area being treated. Both sites are numbed with local anesthesia prior to treatment.
Unlike fillers and other volume-enhancing treatments, fat tranplants are taken from the patient's own body, and as a result it does not carry a risk of allergic reaction or rejection. The fat is naturally accepted by the body. Fat transplantation procedures may also last longer than synthetic materials. Other advantages include a short recovery time, long-lasting results and effectiveness on any skin type.
The Fat Transplantation Procedure
During the fat transplantation procedure, fat is harvested from the donor area by inserting a cannula and suctioning out the fat, similar to liposuction. This is done under local anesthesia to minimize any potential discomfort. The harvested fat is then purified so that only the fat cells are grafted. Once the fat is ready to be placed, it is injected into the targeted area through a cannula until the desired appearance is achieved.
This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis in your doctor's office or a surgical facility. Because of the different aspects involved, treatment time can vary significantly depending on each patient's individual procedure.
Results and Recovery
Patients may experience mild swelling and bruising after the fat transplantation procedure, which can be minimized by icing the area. Fat transplants usually last longer than fillers and other volumizing treatments, and are considered safe for most patients since no foreign material is being injected into the body.
Risks of Fat Transplantation
While fat tranplantation is considered safe for most patients, there are certain risks associated with any type of procedure. Some of these risks may include:
- Nerve damage
- Under or overcorrection
These risks can be minimized by choosing an experienced doctor to perform your procedure, and following his/her instructions after surgery.