Fat Grafting involves harvesting fat from another part of the body and carefully re-injecting it into the areas of the body requiring volume enhancement, whether the face, breast or other parts of the body. Fat is one of most well tolerated fillers available to aesthetic surgeons, and thus has broad applications. This procedure is safe when injected carefully, is long lasting, and can have very natural looking results. The procedure may have to be performed several times to produce desired results because not all fat cells will survive the transfer. Currently, fat transfer to the breast is considered an option for women who want to improve the appearance of their breasts after reconstruction or lumpectomy to treat breast cancer, to camouflage rippling, and wrinkling from existing implants, and for tuberous breast correction. The procedure can also be used to soften the overall look of existing implants by blending the line between implant and breast tissue. Potential candidates must also have adequate fat deposits to harvest. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) caution women to seek fat grafting only for the purposes listed above. The site being treated must have good blood circulation and enough capillaries and larger blood vessels so that the injected fat cells are nourished and can form their own blood supply. This is a key factor in obtaining the best and longest lasting results. You are a good candidate for fat grafting if you are in good health and have a desire for augmentation or want to fill volume-deficient areas. It can be used to contour areas where liposuction has caused irregularities, in the face as a volume-filler, and in the breast. During the procedure, fat is harvested using a special suction cannula with sterile technique. Once enough fat is obtained from the donor area, it is then purified. This usually requires the use of a centrifuge which spins the fat and removes impurities. The fat is then placed into the areas requiring augmentation. The injection needle is usually passed in and out of the areas to be augmented multiple times, creating a ‘grid’ of threads of fat graft. To create a satisfactory contour, the areas that were injected may then be massaged by the surgeon. A dressing may then be placed. Risks to the Patient:
- Swelling, which should settle down within several weeks.
- Bruising in both the donor and recipient areas as a result of minor bleeding.
- Numbness of the skin overlying the donor and injected areas, which normally resolves.
- Slight asymmetry or contour irregularity.
- Under or over correction of the affected area
- Loss of fat viability, which may require additional procedures.