Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Fat Grafting
Sometimes fat doesn’t accumulate in the area we want it to. Thanks to fat grafting, fat can be recycled to a more desired area with just one simple procedure!
What is fat grafting?
The fat grafting process involves removing fat tissue from unwanted areas using liposuction and then grafting (transferring) the fat to a different area of the body. Fat grafting can be done alone, or in conjunction with reconstructive or cosmetic procedures. Fat grafting is a long-lasting way to keep a youthful and natural appearance by enhancing areas of the body.
The face, breasts, hips and buttocks are common areas chosen for treatment. For instance, patients who have undergone a lumpectomy to remove a lump in the breast can choose to fat graft to fill the area where the cancer was removed.
Benefits of fat grafting
Fat grafting is considered more natural compared to implantation because there is no risk of the body acquiring an allergic reaction. Taking your own body fat and recycling it can have other long-lasting results and can be a great alternative to other commonly used implants.
How is the procedure done?
There are three main steps in a fat-grafting procedure:
- The first step is to harvest the fat from the donor area by using liposuction with tumescent in order to preserve and minimize damage to the fat cells. This technique mixes fluid with the fat to be absorbed and prepared for the next step.
- The fat is purified and isolated to gather undamaged and clean cells. This process is needed after being concentrated with tumescent fluid. Once the fat has been filtered here, it is ready for injection.
- The fat is grafted to the target site, inserted into injection sites repeatedly until the transfer is complete.
Like any procedure, results vary from person to person. Scarring may vary based on genetic tendencies, but fat grafting incisions are small and typically fade over time. This is a benefit of fat grafting, whereas implantation usually requires larger incisions. Surgeons often transfer more fat than needed because overtime the body may absorb some of the tissue in the area, or some of the tissue may not survive through the transplant.
Although fat grafting isn’t a complicated, high-risk procedure, recovery time is still a process. The recovery period depends on the amount of fat that was grafted. The more fat grafted, the more time it takes to heal. Patients can expect bruising for the first few days, as well as moderate discomfort. The pain and/or swelling can be controlled with oral medication and swelling can be expected to subside over the next two weeks to one month. Drainage may occur, but is normal to expect from the donor area. Use of a compression garment at the donor area will help expedite the process to decrease swelling.
Precautions to take before the procedure
A consultation with your doctor is always recommended before a procedure to ensure a healthy and safe surgery. Consultations provide you with the ins and outs of the surgery and if you are an ideal candidate.