Body Fat Transfer
Your own body fat can be harvested and repurposed to fill in wrinkles, restore volume to hollowed cheeks and sunken eyes, and give fullness and shape to your lips. Of course, injectable fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm can do this too. So why would anyone opt to use his or her own fat instead?
Because a fat transfer uses your own cells, there’s little risk of allergic reaction or rejection. (Although many injectable fillers are made of bioidentical hyaluronic acid, some of the longer lasting products include collagen, which occasionally causes reactions and requires a skin test before use.) Also, body fat is supple. It looks and feels completely natural. And although some percentage of transplanted fat may be reabsorbed over time, the results achieved by body fat transfer can be very long lasting and occasionally, even permanent.
Although some practitioners attempt to transfer large volumes of fat to fill areas like the buttocks and breasts, Dr. Siporin believes that this technique works best when confined to smaller areas, where only minute quantities of fat are required and the results can be more carefully controlled.
The Body Fat Transfer Procedure
Body fat transfers are usually combined with liposuction. Fat is suctioned out of the donor site (usually your abdomen or thighs). The fat cells are then processed and purified before being injected in facial areas where more volume is desired.
It takes three to four days for the newly transplanted fat cells to develop a blood supply. During this time, some of the transferred fat cells will die. For this reason, more than one treatment may be required to achieve the best results. With each treatment, more fat cells accumulate in the target area. When the final result is achieved, patients can expect it to last. Longevity will vary from individual to individual but the results are typically long lasting and may even endure for a lifetime.
Fat Transfer Recovery
Your recovery at the donor site is identical to the recovery following liposuction. When you’ll be back at work, how long you’ll need to wear the compression garment, and how much swelling or bruising you experience will depend on many factors, including whether you’ve had traditional or laser liposuction (Smart Lipo). Please read more about liposuction by clicking here.
The treated facial area may be red for the first 48 hours following your fat transfer. There is typically some swelling that will resolve in a few weeks. If bruising occurs, it should disappear in a few days. Scabs may also form at the injection site. Discomfort is usually mild. You will probably notice an improvement in your appearance immediately after the procedure although it may take a few weeks or even months to see the final result.
Complications and Risks of Body Fat Transfer
Although complications from body fat transfer surgery are rare, the most common include bruising, swelling, redness, fatty bumps beneath the skin, uneven skin texture, infection, abscess, excessive bleeding, and scarring. Dr. Siporin will discuss these risks during your consultation.