Fat transfer is one of the most popular body contouring cosmetic procedures. The procedure allows patients to remove fat from one part of their body, then reuse that fat to naturally augment another part of their body. Frequently, patients find this procedure useful in adding more volume to their buttocks or breasts. It can also be used to restore volume to parts of the body that tend to lose it with age, such as the hands or face.
Read for more about the benefits of this innovative procedure and how our patients are using it to achieve their dream body!
About Fat Transfer
A fat transfer is a procedure that utilizes the body’s own fat for augmentation of features including the buttocks, breasts, lips, cheeks, and hands. It also has the added benefit of slimming down the parts of the body where the patient has excess fat, including the abdomen or thighs. Fat transfer is also sometimes called fat grafting because the process involves transplanting fat from one part of the body to another part. For these reasons, the procedure can help give the body enhanced proportion and contour.
A fat transfer is a three step process where fat is:
- Liposuctioned from the body for contouring
- Purified to separate the fat from the liquid portion
- Reinjected into the body for augmentation
A fat transfer is an extremely safe procedure, since it utilizes fat from the patient’s own body. This means that there is no chance for an allergic reaction. Furthermore, the results appear natural and are long lasting.
Common Fat Transfer Procedures
Brazilian Butt Lift
With the increased popularity of voluptuous behinds, the Brazilian Butt Lift procedure has also gained recent popularity. The procedure adds shape and volume to the buttocks without the need for implants or other synthetic materials. During a Brazilian Butt Lift procedure, the fat is often taken from the lower back or love handles. This helps increase the apparent size of the buttocks in relation to the waist and produces an attractive hourglass figure.
Natural Breast Augmentation
A fat transfer may be a good option for patients who desire a moderate increase in the size of their breasts, as a fat transfer can increase the size of the breasts by one cup size. It is not designed for patients who have drooping breasts, as it will not be able to lift the breasts up. However, fat grafting will give patients results that not only look incredibly realistic, but feel amazingly real as well, because they very well are. Fat grafting may also be a good fit for breast reconstruction candidates following a mastectomy or a lumpectomy.
The hands have the ability to reveal one’s age. With time, wrinkles form and the hands lose volume, leading way to overly prominent tendons and veins. Dermal fillers are one way to combat this loss of volume. However, these treatments are not permanent – typically lasting less than a year. For more long term results that have the added benefit of utilizing organic material from the patient’s own body, fat grafting may be the ideal solution. Fat grafting in the hands can restore volume to areas where volume was lost and smooth out wrinkled areas.
Facial Fat Transfer
A facial fat transfer is a procedure commonly employed as an alternative to dermal fillers or a facelift. It can be used to augment the lips, cheeks, and smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, including nasolabial folds and crow’s feet.
At Cosmetic Surgery Associates, we make sure to fully understand the patient’s unique facial anatomy prior to treatment so that the results come out extremely natural looking. It is helpful if patients bring in a photo of themselves when they were younger in order to aid in this process.
About Donor Locations
Donor locations are the areas of the body where fat grafts are harvested for augmentation. Fat is harvested using a special liposuction technique as to preserve the graft. Fat transfer candidates must have areas on their body with excess fat deposits that are suitable for liposuction. Some of the common donor locations include:
- Upper arms
- Inner thighs
- Outer thighs
However, the best donor location for a fat transfer procedure will be determined by the doctor and the patient at the time of their Maryland or Virginia consultation.
Good candidates for a fat transfer are those who are interested in naturally augmenting part of their body, such as their buttocks, breasts, hands, or face, and slim another part. In order to perform a successful fat transfer, candidates should have areas of localized fat deposits suitable for liposuction. Candidates should be at a stable weight, but wish to reproportion some of their body fat that is not responding to diet or exercise.
Candidates should have realistic expectations of what can be achieved through a fat transfer procedure. They should also be healthy and possess the ability to heal properly following treatment. In order to determine one’s candidacy for a fat transfer procedure, please request a consultation with Dr. Jabs, Dr. Richards, or Dr. Magge at our Maryland or Virginia office.
The Fat Transfer Procedure
The fat transfer procedure can frequently be performed as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. In some cases, including larger fat transfer procedures, it may be performed as an inpatient procedure or under general anesthesia. Prior to surgery, the patient and their doctor will go over all of the specifics of their procedure so that they can properly prepare.
The fat transfer procedure is performed in three steps. First, the fat is harvested from the predetermined donor location using liposuction. The doctor will make small incisions on the liposuction locations for a thin cannula to be inserted, from which the fat graft will be retrieved.
In the second step of the procedure, the fat is purified by separating out the solid fat from the liquid components.
In the final step, the fat is reinjected into the part of the body that is to be augmented. This is performed by injecting the fat at varying depths. By using this method, the fat has the greatest chance of surviving in its new location. Since not all of the fat will take to the desired location, the doctor will slightly overcompensate with the amount of fat initially injected so desired long term results are achieved.
Following a fat transfer procedure, the patient should expect some swelling and bruising around the donor and augmentation sites. The donor site will be bandaged with a compression garment to make sure that it settles into it’s final contoured placement. Depending on the augmentation location, patients will be instructed to minimize the amount of pressure placed on the location for a number of weeks. This is to ensure that the most fat possible survives in the new location.
In order to minimize swelling and bruising, we recommend that patients sleep with their heads elevated and avoid anti-inflammatory medications. In order to control any pain following the procedure, patients will be provided with a prescription from one of our doctors or can use an over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol. Bruising and swelling will dissipate naturally over the course of one to two weeks. After this time period, patients can enjoy their final contoured results.
All patients are required to come in for a follow-up appointment after their procedure. This is to ensure that the patient is healing properly and that the fat is taking to the new area as expected. Our relationship with our patients does not end after the procedure, but, rather, we work with our patients long after their treatment in order to prolong optimal results as long as possible.
Consultation / Cost
At the time of the consultation, we encourage patients to ask any and all questions they have regarding the procedure or our practice. Our goal is to make the patient feel as comfortable and informed as possible.
During the consultation, patients will meet one-on-one with one of our board certified experienced doctors: Dr. Jabs, Dr. Richards, or Dr. Magge. We offer fat transfer procedures at both our Bethesda, Maryland and McLean, Virginia locations, making our offices convenient for people living in the greater Washington, D.C. area. We also have many patients that travel in order to work with our esteemed doctors. Our highly professional staff is happy to work with out-of-town patients in order to help make accommodations.
The consultation is an extremely important part of every treatment we perform, including a fat transfer procedure. The first goal of the consultation is to determine whether or not the patient is a good candidate for the procedure they have in mind. In the case of a fat transfer procedure, one of our doctors will examine the patient for potential donor locations. They will also ask the patient about their medical history, including prior surgeries, medications and supplements they take, and medical conditions they may suffer from. Preexisting medical conditions will likely not affect the patient’s candidacy, but it is important for our doctor’s to have a full understanding of the patient’s health prior to any treatment. In some cases, our doctors may recommend alternative or additional procedures that may be useful in helping the patient achieve their desired results.
At this time, we will also be able to discuss the pricing particulars of the patient’s case. There are a variety of factors that can impact the cost of a procedure, including anesthesia, overnight care, and other specifics regarding the procedure. Since a fat transfer is such a highly customizable procedure, a consultation is necessary before we can offer a price estimate.
In order to determine one’s candidacy for a fat transfer procedure, please call our office. Patients are also encouraged to reach out to us online by filling out this form. We look forward to speaking soon!