Volume loss in the breasts and body is a common aesthetic concern. Fat transfer, also referred to as autologous fat transfer or fat grafting, is designed to improve the contours of the body by transferring fat from one area of the body to another. This procedure uses liposuction to remove excess fat from areas, such as the thighs or abdomen, before injecting it into areas lacking volume, such as the breasts or buttocks.
Fat transfer can be performed on its own, however, it is often combined with other surgical procedures, such as breast augmentation. At Inigo Cosmetic, fat transfer is often performed to augment the breasts or buttocks, avoiding risks associated with implants, such as rupture, shifting and leaks.
Who is a good candidate for Fat Transfer?
The ideal candidate for fat transfer surgery is someone who:
- Is in good overall physical and mental health
- Has realistic wants and expectations
- Has experienced volume loss or contour depressions in specific body areas, such as the breasts, buttocks or other areas
- Has firm, elastic skin
- Has pockets of excess fat in areas of the body that can be used as a donor site
- Does not have any circulation problems
- Is a non-smoker
The Fat Transfer procedure
The fat transfer procedure can be performed either under a local or general anaesthetic, depending on the treatment area.
Fat transfer can be described as a three-stage process:
During your initial consultation, you and the surgeon will choose a donor site for fat removal. This area will be injected with a local anaesthetic, after which the surgeon will create a small incision and, via a cannula, will carefully extract the fat using liposuction techniques. Keep in mind that the amount of fat removed is much less than during traditional liposuction, meaning that it should not alter the appearance of the donor location.
2. Purification and transfer
Once the surgeon has removed enough fat from the donor area, he will process the fat cells to prepare them for transfer to the syringes used for injection. This is usually done by spinning the fat through a centrifuge to separate the cells from any impurities or fluid.
Once the fat is ready, the surgeon will insert a needle or cannula into the area being augmented. The surgeon will pass the injection needle in and out of the transfer site multiple times to create the desired contour. To further improve results, the surgeon may also massage the grafted areas. To complete the procedure, he will place a dressing over the treatment area.
Recovery from Fat Transfer
While the recovery process varies from patient to patient, many describe the sensation following surgery as mild aches and pressure instead of pain. We endeavour to ensure your post-operative comfort by prescribing oral pain medication after the procedure.
Following your fat transfer, you may experience some significant bruising and swelling. Expect to take at least one week off from work, however two to three weeks are ideal.
Patients are required to wear a compression garment continuously for around six weeks. This will reduce swelling and help mould the treatment area to avoid lumps and contour irregularities. Significant swelling usually subsides by three months, and the final result will be noticeable after six to twelve months.
Scarring from Fat Transfer
While fat injections do not result in scarring, the removal of fat via liposuction does. However, liposuction incisions are very small and any scars will be placed in hidden areas. They will also fade over time.
Please visit Scarring After Surgery for more information.
SURGERY TIME: 1 - 2 hours
HOSPITAL STAY: Day surgery
ANAESTHETIC: General or local, depending on area
DRESSING CHANGE: Weeks 1 & 2
TIME OFF WORK: 1 - 3 weeks
EXERCISE: None for 6 weeks
GARMENT: Worn for 6 weeks
FULL RECOVERY: 3 months