In essence, fat grafting boils down to transferring fat from one area of the body to another. The overall goal here is augmenting the area that the fat is transferred to. The adipose fat is extracted using liposuction. Then, the fat is processed, only to be reinjected into the target area of the body.

Before you decide to go ahead with fat transfer, London-based experts at Dr Turner’s clinic recommend reading up about the procedure. Here is some information to get you started. Brief History

Fat transfer procedures have been performed on people for thirty years now, ever since Dr Sydney Coleman outlined the standardised techniques.

However, the idea goes back to the late 19th century, when the first fat grafting procedure took place. In that period, many complications routinely plagued physicians. It was only roughly a century later that the process became more streamlined.

Who Does Fat Transfer Procedures

Although fat grafting/transfer can be performed by other types of a surgeon, for the most part, these procedures are done by plastic surgeons. This is given the fact that liposuction or lipoplasty is the primary part of the procedure.

Fat grafting is performed in hospitals or, more often, outpatient surgery centres. The accreditation of the facility is vital, seeing as how that’s what guarantees the best practices and overall patient safety.

The Process

As mentioned earlier, there are three main parts of a fat transfer procedure:

Fat extraction from the donor area

The donor area is selected (typically hips, abdomen, or another body part that’s rich with fat) depending on the patient’s constitution. Then, manual liposuction is used, using cannulas with tiny holes. Unlike regular liposuction, ultrasound and lasers aren’t used here, as this may destroy the fat cells. Since VASER and similar technologies aren’t utilised, more bruising and swelling is to be expected in the donor area.

Decanting and centrifugation, followed by fat processing

Then, outside of the patient’s body, centrifugation and decanting are used to process the extracted fat. During these processes, the excess fluid, separate debris, as well as dead cells are separated from the fat. At the end of this part of the process, only the viable adipose fat cells remain in the extracted mass. This is ready for injection into the target area.

Injecting purified fat into the target area

Via the recipient area’s subcutaneous tissue, small droplets of the purified fat are injected. This gradual and slow insertion provides a good blood supply to each droplet, ensuring the survival of the fat graft. The amount of the extracted and injected fat is down to the specific needs of each patient. This decision is, of course, left with the doctor performing the surgery.

Common Areas

Fat transfer can be performed in various areas to encourage rejuvenation, skin tightening, and volume increase. Here are some of the most common recipient areas:

Face

Fat transfer to the face is definitely among the top common recipient areas. It adds volume to wrinkled and hollowed-out facial features, most commonly the nasolabial folds and eye areas. This procedure helps repair various scars, adds volume to cheeks, and improves the overall appearance and skin texture.

Breasts

Fat transfer to breasts can increase their size by up to two cup sizes. The fat transfer procedure is also used to correct breast asymmetry and helps with scar deformities.

Hips and Buttocks

Fat grafting to the hips/buttocks area help the patient achieve a more feminine figure, better waist-to-hip ratio, contours the buttocks, and increases bottom size.

Hands and Feet

Fat transfer to hands and feet is perhaps the least common type of fat grafting, but it’s still commonly performed. It rejuvenates the hand and feet appearance and reduces overall wrinkles. This type of procedure is also performed to provide padding for bony feet.

In reality, fat transfer can be applied to any body part, in consultation with a certified surgeon.

Fat Grafting 101

This entry should help prepare you for a fat transfer procedure. Whatever you do, make sure that you’ve consulted the certified experts on fat transfer and that you listen to their advice about fat transfer. London is a city that’s teeming with quality plastic surgery professionals like Dr Turner to assist you every step along the way.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Introduction to Fat Transfer," in Medicalopedia, November 26, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/9412/introduction-to-fat-transfer/].