Everything You Need to Know about Fat Grafting!

This procedure sounds like a miracle! But how does it work? In this blog, we explain how fat transfer works and answer some of your most pressing questions about it.

Fat grafting, sometimes called autologous fat transfer, is the surgical process by which fat is moved from one area of your body to another. It has a long history and numerous applications, making it one of the fastest-growing cosmetic treatments around.

 

11Everything You Need to Know about Fat Grafting

What is a fat transfer?

Also referred to as fat grafting, fat transfer is a cosmetic surgical procedure that takes fat from one area of your body and puts it back into another area that could benefit from an augmentation. Any area can be used for donation, though most people ask that fat be taken from their stomach, thighs, or flanks.

This procedure has been used by plastic surgeons since the 1990s. In more recent years, fat transfer has been found to have healing properties as well. Specifically, it can assist in healing scars and wounds, as well as breast tissue damage as a result of radiation therapy.

 

How it works

When you meet with our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Arash Izadpanah, you discuss which parts of your body you would like to take fat from and which parts you would like to be more plumped or filled. Some popular areas to have fat transferred to include:

  • Face
  • Breasts
  • Hands
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Feet

 

Fat transfer is typically performed using some form of anesthesia. The type of anesthesia used depends on the amount of fat being extracted. While smaller amounts of fat can be taken using just a local anesthetic, larger amounts require you to be sedated.

The procedure starts by taking fat from the donor area via liposuction. The fat is then cleaned and processed. Some fat may be discarded due to the risk of it not surviving the transfer, or even causing problems for the good fat cells that do survive. Once the processing is completed and the fat is ready to be transferred, your doctor reinjects it in tiny droplets within the subcutaneous tissue of the receiving area.

 

Myths About Fat Grafting

Fat will disappear.

FACT: The process of fat grafting requires harvest from another site, followed by processing, and finally injection. During the procedure some fat cells can be damaged. While the goal is to remove all liquid (injected to minimize pain and bleeding), blood, and non-viable fat cells, some will still be injected. On top of that, even some perfectly good fat cells will not obtain proper blood supply in the breast. So not all of the volume injected is actually healthy fat cells that get good blood supply. That which isn’t gets absorbed by your body, leaving you with the healthy fat that did survive. In addition, you will have swelling from the procedure that will take time to settle.

Fat grafting is an easy surgery.

FACT: Fat grafting has many benefits over implants, but is a longer and more technically demanding procedure. Every step of the way needs to be done meticulously, or the fat survival rate will go down. It is time consuming and takes a lot of patience on your surgeon’s part. Not all surgeons have the patience to get the ideal result. If they are not willing to place the fat drop-by-drop, the result will be limited.

Fat transfer is better than implants.

FACT: There is no perfect surgery. I spend a lot of time over several visits with my patients helping them come to the best answer for them. Fat transfer is great as there are virtually no scars, you get to treat a “problem” area with liposuction, and the results are very natural. However, it does not do as well to increase volume when you desire a much larger breast. It also does not enhance the shape of the breast as well as an implant in someone with a less pretty shape to begin with.

Fat grafting can be done in anyone.

FACT: Although fat grafting can be done in anyone, not everyone is an ideal candidate. You need to have enough fat to harvest to make it worthwhile. Sometimes the only fat people have is in the buttocks. Not all patients want to give up volume in their buttocks. You also need to have a place to put it. If you are so thin that there is little space to place the fat, you may need more than one surgery. Remember, you can double the size of the breast at the time of surgery, leaving you 50%-60% larger in the end. With a second surgery, you can put a fair bit more fat than the first, leaving you up to 2-2.5 times larger than when you started. For some patients, they may simply do better with an implant and some fat grafting to conceal it well.

 


 

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As you can see from the above, how long it can take before you should get a mommy makeover depends on the item on your list with the longest waiting time. For example, even if your weight is stabilized at pre-baby levels, if you are still breastfeeding, you will have to wait until you stop. Or, if you are not breastfeeding but other health issues have not been resolved, you will still have to wait until you are healthy.

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About Dr. Arash Izadpanah, MD, FRCSC

Dr Izadpanah prides himself in a patient-centric practice based on trust and transparency. He believes in listening to what will make you feel the most confident in your skin. Dr. Arash Izadpanah completed his medical training at McGill University, and is a board certified plastic surgeon with the Royal College and Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. After practicing plastic surgery in British Columbia he chose to further his education and complete a year-long Microsurgery Fellowship in Taiwan.

Contact:

Dr. Arash Izadpanah Plastic Surgery
1304 Greene Ave, Westmount, QC H3Z 2B1

514-742-9563
info@drarashizadpanah.com

 

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info@drarashizadpanah.com
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