Fat grafting is the utilization of your own tissue to provide volume in other areas of your body. The fat is typically taken from an area where it is less needed (usually the thighs or abdomen) and then transplanted to an area that has lost volume as a result of aging, trauma, surgery, birth defects, or other causes. Common areas for treatment include the hands, face, breast, and buttock. Typically, the transferred fat results in a long-term increase in volume of the body site being treated.
How is Fat Grafting Performed?
The first step of fat grafting is liposuction to the area donating the fat. The area is injected with a fluid to minimize bruising and discomfort. The fat is then removed from the body using a narrow surgical instrument (cannula) through a small incision. The tissue is then cleansed and injected into the desired area using either a smaller cannula or needle. Some of the fat that is transferred does not maintain its volume over time, and as a result, your surgeon may inject more than is needed in order to achieve the desired end result. Fat transfer procedures may be done using a local anesthetic, sedation, or general anesthesia depending on the extent of the procedure.
Who is a Good Candidate for Fat Grafting?
Anyone in good health can be a candidate for fat grafting. The restoration of volume can improve youthful fullness in a number of different areas: curves can be enhanced and areas of hollowing can be improved. Fat grafting can be used to compliment a variety of procedures (such as a facelift) and many times can delay or avoid more invasive procedures. Fat grafting also delivers tissue scaffolding, growth factors and numerous healing cells ( including stem cells). In fact, fat (adipose) tissue has been calculated to contain up to 2,500 times more stem cells than bone marrow. These stem cells not only help to speed up the healing process but deliver extraordinary rejuvenative power to the area that they were transplanted to. Fat grafting is an excellent choice for anyone looking to improve contour singularly or in conjunction with another procedure.
Results from fat grafting can vary. Depending on the results desired, several staged procedures may be required.
Most patients can resume normal light daily activities in 1 week or less. Light exercise in 3 weeks. Full exercise in 6 weeks.
Costs vary depending on amount or type of tissue transferred, areas treated, office or surgery center. Range $4,000 to $10,000.