Fat Transfer / Fat Grafting
Fat grafting is a procedure in which fat cells (adipocytes) are harvested from an area on the body and transferred to another area. Commonly referred to as “fat transfer,” this technique allows patients to utilize their own excess fat cells to replenish volume in areas that may be lacking. Fat transfer has many benefits however, there are several considerations when determining if it is the right procedure for you.
Adipocytes, commonly referred to as fat cells, have DNA inside of them which empowers them with regenerative properties. The adipocytes’ ability to rejuvenate and repair surrounding tissue offer additional benefits like enhanced skin tone and texture to be achieved with a single fat transfer procedure. The combination of reducing unwanted fat in one area paired with the addition of plumping areas that need more volume, can create the ultimate contouring procedure. When the graft is removed from one area and transplanted to another, the tissue that survives will allow those dimensions to be permanently changed.
Although fat grafting can offer more long-lasting and high-volume replenishment more so than injectable fillers, this benefit is countered by unpredictability. All grafted tissue, whether it be skin, muscle, bone, or fat will not have 100% survivability. How much of the graft survives can significantly vary and can be affected by numerous known and unknown factors. Some of the variables thought to influence graft viability are; the patients’ health, the quality of fat harvested, the method of extraction, the ‘processing’ of the graft, the grafting site location, and post-operative care/compliance. With so many factors, there is a high variability in how much of the graft survives. Successful fat grafting procedures usually predict 20-50% of graft survival. Although this may initially seem low, the amount of grafted tissue that survives, will permanently remain in that area.
Ideally, the fat to be grafted is “fresh” – not having had liposuction in that area before to reduce scar tissue and increase graft viability. Depending on what area the graft is to be transferred to will determine how much volume is needed. Fat grafting to the buttock and hip area is very popular and can warrant hundreds of cc’s of fat. Sometimes, in order to best achieve a patient’s desired expectations, or to achieve more dramatic results, multiple stages of fat grafting may be required. If multiple stages are needed, spacing these procedures at last 6-12 months apart will ensure proper healing between each procedure.
We encourage all patients to come in for a personalized consult to discuss what fat grafting could mean for them and to determine if this transformational procedure is right for them. Call us at 619.651.9651 to schedule a consultation.