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A fat graft procedure is simply this: Fat obtained from another part of your body (such as hips, thighs or lower abdomen) is injected into areas that may need to be “filled out”. Depending on your situation, fat grafting may be the procedure of choice for:
- Lip augmentation,
- Filling out of your facial wrinkles (such as the frown or smile lines and “tear troughs”),
- Facial scars,
- Facial contouring of cheeks and chin
- Or even contouring and augmentation of the buttocks and breasts.
Since the fat is taken from your own body it is readily available and there’s no risk to you of an allergic reaction. Grafted fat is soft and feels natural. It’s a safe way to enhance your body using your own resources.
Fat grafting is a procedure to take fat from one part of the body where it is not needed, for example the abdomen as well as the inner and outer thigh, and place it somewhere else. There could be a variety of reasons to do this. One would be to change the shape of a part of the body such as the breast or buttock region. Often patients are requesting an increase in size and better shape of the breast or the buttocks and this can be achieved through the use of the patient’s own fat. Smaller amounts can be used in other areas such as the face to fill in wrinkles, similar to how fillers are used in the face, including the marionette lines or the nasolabial folds. Fat can also be used to address changes in the face related to aging, including the lips, the cheekbone areas or the temples to give the face a more youthful appearance. Lips can be made larger and fuller, resulting in a more youthful appearance. Fat can also be used in traumatic deformities where there is an irregularity in contour and can often resolve these sorts of problems. We also see patients treated elsewhere with liposuction irregularities, such as dimpling and rippling of the skin. Any irregularities where fat has been removed to close to the surface of the skin can be improved with the grafting of small amounts of fat.
Fat grafting procedures can take a very short time to perform; 30 minutes for smaller portions of fat. Larger amounts of fat such as the amounts used in the buttocks can take up to 3-4 hours to adequately harvest the fat and inject it into the desired area. In this procedure fat needs to be carefully removed from the given area under lower suction than normal, as the fat cannot be damaged during this process. After the fat is removed from the patient, the fat is purified so that only pure living fat is placed into the patient. In larger cases, the harvested fat can be quite extensive, such as in the buttock region where we are harvesting fat from the abdomen, the flanks, the inner and outer thighs, and sometimes even the back to obtain enough fat to inject into the buttock. The injection of fat must be done very carefully and is very technique dependent. Small amounts of fat must be injected at a time or else the fat will not survive. The fat needs to be sculpted with injection in different layers of the area in question so that the best survival and the best appearance will result from this surgery.
A good candidate for fat grafting has the cosmetic concerns indicated above such as facial wrinkles, facial aging, loss of fullness of the lips, irregularities from trauma or prior surgery, or a patient who desires a better shape of their breast or their buttock region.
Realistic expectations from this procedure are improvement in the issues discussed above. The patient should expect improvement from one procedure; however, additional procedures of fat grafting may need to be performed to achieve the best result.
Recovery from fat grafting can take anywhere from 2-3 days to 2-3 weeks.
Contact us today for a personal, confidential consultation with Dr. Ching. Find out if a facial fat graft is right for you.