How does a fat graft work?
We all have “problem areas,” be it an area we’d like to reduce or an area we’d like to enhance. Sometimes it’s due to genetics, sometimes it’s due to aging, or sometimes it’s just because you feel like it. No matter the cause, there is a solution…fat grafting. How does a fat graft work?
Fat grafting is a surgical procedure to move fat from one part of the body to another. Fat grafts are minimally invasive and can provide lasting, natural looking results to improve the appearance of the face and body for both cosmetic and restorative reasons.
A fat graft procedure begins with the removal of fat from a donor area of the body. Anesthesia will depend on the amount of fat to be extracted; small amounts may only require local anesthesia while larger volumes will be removed under general anesthesia. The fat extraction is done through a procedure called liposuction. A small incision is made at the donor site and then fat is dislodged with a cannula. Donor fat is removed through the incision site with a syringe or surgical vacuum. The collected fat is processed to remove dead fat cells and fluid in order to purify the sample. The remaining healthy adipose fat tissue cells are injected into the new area as small droplets to increase their exposure to the blood supply that is needed to survive. Not all fat cells will survive grafting, but many do.
Fat grafts can be performed on almost any area of the body. The procedure is commonly performed on the face (including the lips and cheeks), breasts, buttocks and hips. While fat grafts will not help you lose weight, they will enhance shape and volume, fill in wrinkles and fine lines, and reduce scars.
Candidates for fat grafting are those who are in good health at a stable and ideal weight, have enough fat on their body to graft to the desired area and those who have reasonable expectations about the results and limitations of fat grafting. Fat grafting provides natural looking results, so those who desire a less subtle transformation should consider other cosmetic procedures to avoid dissatisfaction.
Following the fat graft procedure, recovery times vary, but you will likely be able to go home the same day. Many patients return to normal activity within a week or two, although your doctor may limit your exercise regimen for longer. Swelling and bruising are common but should subside within a few weeks. The final results of a fat graft will be visible after about 6 months; by this point any fat cells that won’t survive will have died off. Results are permanent, but treatment areas that are larger, such as the breasts or buttocks, may require repeat grafts to meet the desired aesthetic goal.
Curious about fat grafting? Dr. Kevin I. Perman endorses fat grafting to achieve natural, “less is more” results that return a youthful appearance to the body with a minimally invasive approach. Call (301) 571-0000 to schedule a consultation to see how fat grafting can help you meet your goals.