Fat Grafting/Transplantation

Many people wish to take fat from an area that has an excess and move it to another area of the body that could use a little “plumping”.  This desire can become a reality with fat transplantation!  The procedure involves using a small tube inserted through a tiny skin incision to acquire fat cells that are then cleaned and re-injected into a different area of the body (such as the face or hands).  The fat that “takes” in the new location has the benefit of lasting for years.  Some patients also like the fact that the material they are using to plump up areas of the face and/or hands is their own fat.      

Fat grafting/transplantation can improve age-related volume deficits almost anywhere on the face or body.  The ideal area to obtain the fat from is the abdomen, though the inner thighs or knees can also be used.  Once the fat has been obtained, the remainder of the procedure is similar to that of injectable fillers. 

Face – Fat can be placed in the brows, temporal hollows, under the frown lines, deep circles around the eyes, apples of the cheeks, the high cheekbone region, the groove between the nose and the corner of the mouth (nasolabial folds), lips, the pre-jowl area (marionette lines) and the angle of the jaw.

• Hands – Your hands give away your age for 2 reasons: fat loss (which causes the blood vessels and tendons to look more prominent) and pigment spots.

Rejuvenation of all the areas listed above can be achieved with fat transplantation which has a side benefit of improving the overlying skin because of growth factors, stem cells and cytokines in the transferred fat.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fat Transplantation

The simplest way to describe it is moving your fat from an area where there is excess to another area that would benefit from the added volume.

As we age, loss of volume under the skin is one of the main reasons we start to look older.  Replacing that volume can help to make you look younger and more refreshed.  Dermal fillers such as Restylane or Juvederm are a very popular way to add volume, however fat transplantation has a number of unique benefits, including some reduction in fat in unwanted areas such as the abdomen and the duration of the added volume in the transplant area (which is significantly longer than other dermal fillers).   Furthermore, growth factors, stem cells and cytokines in the transferred fat help the overlying skin to look better.

A compression dressing is placed on the donor site for 3-4 days, but the face or hands do not need bandages.  Be careful not to “injure” the grafted fat for 2-3 weeks.

Fat transplantation can be performed with a local anesthetic and light oral sedation. Pain is usually minimal and is easily controlled with Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

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