Fat Transfer • Plastic Surgeon Newport Beach • Orange County • CA
A fat transfer is a very popular procedure. Once fat is harvested via liposuction from one area of the body, it is then transferred to another area of the body where the patient is requesting more volume. For patients looking for a long term result with synthetic dermal fillers, a fat transfer is a great option because it is your body's own tissue and will remain. A synthetic filler will begin to break down and eventually disappear anywhere from 3 months to one year after the initial injection (depending on which brand of dermal filler is used). Likewise, for patients requesting a larger volume transfer for procedures like breast augmentation, cheek augmentation, chin augmentation or a butt augmentation (brazilian buttlift), a fat transfer is an ideal method.
How much fat is needed?
The amount of fat that is needed depends upon the area that a patient is looking to transfer to and how much of a volume increase is requested. A patient looking to fill in their smile lines on their face or fill in the crevice left by a scar would not need a great deal of fat for transferring and would involve minimal liposuction, which many times can be performed under a local anesthesia with small volume liposuction. Patients requesting a larger fat transfer for procedures like a brazilian buttlift (butt augmentation), breast augmentation, or transfer to multiple areas on the face or body would most likely require a larger amount of fat to be harvested through liposuction. Many patients love that they see the outcome of creating a physique with the liposuction and also contouring with fat transfer.
Does the fat stay where it is transferred?
Because your own tissue is being transferred, your body does not reject it as a foreign object. Instead, it provides a blood supply to this tissue. A portion of the transferred fat will reabsorb prior to receiving the blood supply that is being constructed for the newly transferred fat. It is hard to predict what percentage will be absorbed. However, estimates of 15%-30% are typical for an absorption rate. A patient is strongly encouraged not to compress the area and to put as little pressure as possible on the area where the fat is transferred for the first 6 weeks after the procedure in order to obtain their best results.
Will the fat that is taken grow back with weight gain?
This is a question that until answered correctly, sometimes haunts patients. Humans are born with a certain number of fat cells that will increase during puberty. Each individual cell can grow bigger or smaller with weight gain or weight loss, but additional fat cells typically only grow when a person has become morbidly obese- 100% over their ideal body weight. A patient that continues with an improper diet and no exercise can still gain weight as each fat cell that remains can still significantly expand. The fat that is accumulated with weight gain still needs to be stored somewhere, and with fat cells in areas treated with liposuction having been reduced, fat is stored in the fat cells that remain. This is why it is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle after any liposuction treatment.
What is recovery like for a fat transfer surgery?
Patients that undergo a liposuction procedure in which enough fat for a larger transfer is harvested are usually required to wear a specialty compression garment for several weeks to achieve maximum results. These garments provide firm compression and support to suctioned areas, also allowing for skin retraction to optimize final body contour. The garments used are to be worn on a continuous basis day and night, however can be removed for bathing. Dr. Bandy does provide the first surgical garments for her patients. However, additional garments can be purchased at an additional cost from our office. The amount of time a patient is required to wear this specialty garment is determined by Dr. Bandy and varies depending on the area(s) that are treated, how much fatty tissue is suctioned and how the patient is healing. Patients may get bruising to the treated areas of the body, however this may be minimal in some people. Bruising can last for several weeks and it is not uncommon for bruising to last for up to a month. This can be minimized with arnica and bromelain supplements started pre-operatively and continued through the healing process. Pain can be controlled by medication that is prescribed at the time of the pre-operative appointment which is usually 1-2 weeks prior to the scheduled surgical date. In addition to the recovery from the liposuction, there will be a recovery from the fat being transferred.
For more information on liposuction please view our liposuction portion of Dr. Bandy's website and please call our office to schedule a consultation to meet with Dr. Bandy to discuss your needs.