Fat grafting is a surgical procedure where fat is harvested from one part of the patient’s body and transferred over to another. Fat grafting is a natural way to address volume loss throughout the body. Fat grafting is a very flexible procedure that can be done on a variety of different areas of the face and body, including the eyes, forehead, chin, buttocks, hips and décolletage areas.
This process is done through the extraction of adipose tissue through the technique of liposuction. The fat is then processed and injected into the target areas to improve the overall volume of those areas.
Other results of fat grafting include:
- Restoration of a youthful appearance to the face
- Repair of scars
- Added volume
- Improvement of skin texture and sheen
- Correction of asymmetry
- Repairing tissue damage
- Correction of bony hands and feet
First, a thorough examination of your medical history and pre-existing conditions will be conducted. Medication that you are currently taking should be disclosed to our doctors in order to avoid any unseen side effects post-surgery.
Depending on the amount of fat that needs to be extracted, the surgery will take place under either local or general anaesthesia. For small volumes of fat for facial augmentation, local anaesthesia is usually recommended. However, if you opt for a large volume of fat to be extracted (500cc and above), you will have to be sedated by general anaesthesia. Hence, you will not feel any pain or discomfort during the surgery.
A fat grafting surgery done at The Clifford Surgery has three main steps:
- Liposuction on the donor area
- A thin tube known as a cannula is used in order to extract the fat from the donor area. The cannula is connected to a vacuum which sucks the adipose cells out of the body.
- Processing of the fat
- The fat is then processed through a series of steps to prepare it for reintroduction into the body.
- Reinjection of the fat into the target areas
The purified fat is now reintroduced into the parts of the body that needs augmentation through injection. This step is very similar to how dermal fillers are injected into the body. The surgeon will determine the optimal number of injection sites that are needed for the best results.
The first sign of visible results after a fat transfer usually occurs after 2-3 weeks post-surgery. This is because the fat requires some time to receive blood flow, settle in its new area, and redistribute itself evenly. The grafted fat cells will stabilise over the next 1 to 2 months and your results will continue to improve gradually as you recover.
Fat grafts last for many years and is considered to be a good long term solution to addressing volume loss. Around 55-70% of the fat that is grafted will be retained long term and will behave like normal fat. These fat cells must receive a new blood supply from the body as it will require sustenance in order to continue to grow. There will be a percentage of the grafted fat that will not survive, which is why lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol will play a part in determining your final results.
Areas on your body with excess fat, like your tummy, thighs and buttocks are all good candidates for donor areas. Also, areas that have not undergone fat grafting before are ideal as there will not be any scar tissue that can interfere with the harvesting process.
Areas like the male chest should be avoided as there is a lot of fibrous tissue there.
Depending on the amount of fat extracted, you may or may not need to stay in the hospital overnight. The donor area may have to be bandaged for a short period of time while you recover.
Common side effects include:
You will be given a course of antibiotics in order to prevent infection. In general, you should be able to return to work and your usual routine within 2-3 days. It is recommended that you avoid vigorous exercise or water sports for at least 2 weeks.