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What is a Fat Transfer?

A fat transfer involves harvesting a patient’s adipose (fat) cells from an area of the body with excess or undesirable fat and purifying the fat cells.

fat transfer

We then re-inject them into an area for more volume. Fat transfer is an alternative to dermal fillers and to breast augmentation with implants for moderate size increase.

Who is an ideal candidate for Fat Transfer?

The goal of fat grafting is to augment or replace volume. Ideal candidates have extra fat for harvesting. Fat transfers add and restore volume; they don’t rectify sagging skin. Fat grafting can be a great option for you if you desire extra volume in the following locations:

  • Face
  • Lips
  • Hands
  • Breasts
  • Buttocks

Common Fat Transfer Body Areas

Face

If you have facial creases such as laugh and smile lines, and volume loss in the cheeks and around the lips, fat transfer can return volume. Areas under the eyes respond well to fat transfers. The lips can also receive an injection to add shape and volume.

Fat Transfer for Breast Augmentation

If you want a modest increase in breast size without implants, a fat transfer could work for you. Fat transfers in the breasts are for women with nicely shaped breasts that have lost a little volume or if the patient wants moderately larger breasts. This procedure will not create a significant increase and are not for cases of sagging breasts.

Fat Transfer to the Buttocks

The Brazilian butt lift is basically a fat transfer. Liposuction removes fat from an area such as the lower abdomen or hips. We then re-inject the fat into the buttocks to make the buttocks more round and full.

Hands

Fat transfer on the hands is effective for plumping up wrinkled areas and covering underlying blood vessels and tendons.

The Fat Transfer Procedure

Fat transfer is a three-step process: harvesting, purification and transfer, and placement. Your harvest site is selected and it is anesthetized. A small incision is made and a small cannula inserted to carefully extract the fat. The fat is then placed in a centrifuge to remove impurities. The purified fat is returned to small syringes. Dr. Lorenc then uses the syringes to inject the fat into the target area in a series of injections. We may massage the area of treatment to help create a satisfactory contour.

Common Fat Harvesting Body Areas

Common sites for harvesting your fat include the following:

  • Abdomen
  • The flanks (love handles)
  • Posterior arms
  • Hips
  • Thighs

Dermal fillers vs Fat Grafting

Autologous fat comes from your own body so there is little chance of an allergic reaction. Dermal fillers, especially synthetic fillers, can sometimes trigger an allergic reaction. Also, fat transfer is permanent. Although your body will absorb some of the injected fat, much of what is injected will take permanently. Dermal fillers such as Juvederm have a limited duration, usually up to one year, before the body eventually absorbs the filler and its volume enhancement fades.

Fat Transfer Recovery Time

Swelling and bruising can be significant during your first week. You’ll need to take up to a week off of work or public activities, preferably with weekends on both ends. During the second week, your bruising clears, but swelling persists. Between the seventh and tenth days, the swelling will greatly diminish but it will still be there, and subtle continuous swelling can persist for a few weeks.

How long will my results last?

The longevity of your results depends on the survival of the transferred fat. This depends in large part on the expertise of the surgeon, and Dr. Lorenc has extensive experience. The goal is for the injected fat to establish a connection to the blood supply in the injected area. When this happens, the injected fat will endure. But some of the fat will not “take.” This is why later touch-up procedures can be necessary to fill out certain areas.

What are the risks of fat transfers?

Fat transfers are considered to be natural, non-invasive procedures. There are rarely any complications, but those that do occur are the same as with any surgical procedure.

Schedule a Consultation

If you would like to learn more about fat transfer, call (212) 472-2900 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Z. Paul Lorenc.